If you are the parent of a little one, you need to read this important message about car-seat safety.
Mom Angela Brown shared a powerful post on her Facebook page, in which she revealed she nearly lost her almost-2-year-old daughter in a car accident—all because she had turned her car seat to be foward-facing rather than rear-facing.
As Brown describes, she was driving home from a dentist appointment back in February 2016 with her two babies (2-year-old and 1-year-old girls), when their car struck a tree and flipped over, trapping the family inside the vehicle.
When help arrived, Brown was relieved to see that her youngest (who was in a rear-facing car seat) appeared to be completely fine other than a small bruise.
However, her oldest daughter (who was in a forward-facing car seat) was not so lucky: At the hospital, the doctors discovered she had broken two vertebrae in her spine, and a torn ligament in a third.
“She was one of the youngest to be fitted with a Halo Brace the doctor told us that most children with her injury don’t normally make it,” Brown wrote on Facebook.
Although her daughter was fortunate to escape from the accident with her life, it has been a long and difficult road to recovery Although her daughter has been a fighter throughout the experience, no doubt it has been frustrating, painful and frightening for her to cope with the reality of life after the accident—on top of the heartbreak that accompanies having a sick or injured child.
What Experts Say About Car Seat Safety
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children should be kept rear-facing as long as possible, as this position offers the best possible support and protection for their body in the event of a car accident.
While the AAP says 2 years old is the youngest a child should ever be turned around—even if your child is 2 years old, the AAP urges parents to keep their child rear-facing as long as their child is still under the seat’s height and weight limit.
Besides turning a child around too early, another common car seat mistake that parents make is installing the car seat incorrectly in the first place. So many parents get this wrong that there are Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) who will check out the seat for free to make sure you’re installing the seat correctly (don’t rely solely on YouTube).
A local police or fire station should have a CPST, or click here to find an inspection location near you.
One other car seat safety measure that parents should take is dressing their kids properly in the winter. Though it seems crazy, bulky or puffy snowsuits and jackets are just not safe in car seats. Instead consider dressing your baby in a sleeper or well-fitted fleece suit, then placing a warm blanket over the car seat without covering the child’s face.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Brown leaves readers with this important takeaway in her Facebook post:
“I was always unsure about when [to turn] my babies around but after our crash and the hard evidence we are presented with I will forever rearward face my babies as long as I possibly can. Don’t make the same mistake as I did. It could cost you your babies [sic] life.”
Here is wishing the Brown family comfort and continued healing during this difficult time. One positive thing has come out of this horrific accident: Brown’s original Facebook post has been shared over 15,000 times, which means she may have helped to save many lives.
Let’s keep spreading her important message.
Common Car Seat Questions
[h/t: Pop Sugar]