Santa to wear seatbelt in his sleigh for safety reasons

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London, Nov 30 (UNI) ''Jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way... Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh'' -- fitted with a seatbelt.

This year's Christmas fun, however, seems to have been diluted as Santa would be confined to sitting and wearing a seatbelt to satisfy the health and safety brigade of West Midlands.

Every Christmas Eve he whizzes around the world at top speed, with an unblemished driving record but the local rotary club has been forced to fit a belt to the sleigh he uses there - or face a 200 pound increase in its insurance premiums.

Health and safety experts are forcing Santa to wear a seatbelt in case he falls off his sleigh.

President of the Halesowen and Rowley Regis Rotary Club Barry Wheeler commented, ''He would be more likely to injure himself getting in and out of the sleigh than actually falling out of it.'' From past 20 years, it is made sure that Santa gets to go through town and wave to the children, Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

''But this year we found out we actually needed a much more wideranging insurance policy for Santa riding on the sleigh because of health and safety rules. It would have run into a four-figure sum,'' he said, adding that the group paid for Santa's visits out of club funds, and could not afford the higher premium.

Kelly Ostler, from the Association of British Insurers, said, ''We want people to be able to enjoy themselves while being protected against other people's possible negligence.'' ''This is as much about protecting Santa from other drivers as protecting him from the speed of his sleigh.'' UNI

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