For Natalie Bell, personalising items started as a hobby but quickly turned into a genius invention: a velcro seatbelt cover featuring vital health information.
The mother of five came up with the idea when she was brainstorming ways to make her daughter’s hearing loss known to the public in case of an emergency.
“I’m constantly thinking of ways of how I could benefit my daughter’s life and create safety awareness,” Natalie said.
“I made the product because I was concerned about what might happen if my daughter was in an accident and medical staff didn’t know she was unable to have an MRI because she had a cochlear implant.”
Shae Bell was born with mild hearing loss and by the age of 1, she had lost most of the hearing in her left ear and had severe hearing loss in her right ear. Image credit: Natalie Bell.
Emergency information jewellery is another way people with medical conditions can communicate important health information in a serious incident. But the Beaconsfield resident said it might be hard for respondents to sight or locate them.
“I completely support information jewellery but in the case of an accident, Shae’s implant will most likely fall off because it’s a light magnet. If I’m unconscious and unable to speak on my daughter’s behalf, emergency respondents will be able to easily see the seatbelt cover.”
Safety is always at the forefront of Natalie’s mind. She said there’s no such thing as being too safe.
“Anyone can be the first responder at the scene of an accident and these seatbelt covers won’t be missed,” she enthused.
So far, there are 16 variations of covers to choose from and have bright-coloured text so they can be easily seen. Shae’s seatbelt cover reads in big, bold letters: I AM DEAF. I HAVE A COCHLEAR IMPLANT. NO MRI.
The Victorian mother of five says the response has been overwhelming. “I’ve had firefighters and police contact us expressing how great they think these are. They said if these were fitted in a vehicle in certain situations they’ve faced, it would’ve made a difference in the way they approached the passengers.” Image credit: Natalie Bell.
“The covers can also be fastened on a school bag or anything with a strap. This makes it a great safety item for when the family walks together on hikes,” Natalie said.
After posting pictures of the covers on her small business Facebook page overnight, Natalie received an overwhelming response, waking up to thousands of likes, comments and shares.
She said she was absolutely speechless when she saw how big of an impact her invention made to the lives of others.
“If I can just help one person’s child or life then that’s enough for me,” she said humbly.
Since promoting her brainchild, Natalie has received requests for the seatbelt covers from people worldwide and is now in the process of producing them in various languages.
“It makes me so happy and content knowing these seatbelt covers will help people all around the world.”
The seatbelt covers are available to purchase from Natalie’s website personalisedbynat.comfor $15 each or three for a discounted price.
Loud, bubbly, and full of life is exactly how Natalie describes her 10-year-old daughter who models her products.
“She doesn’t let anything like her deafness stop her from doing anything she wants in life,” she said. “She’s my inspiration. Everything I do, I do for my children.”