Rebecca Boyer’s husband might have rolled his eyes when she sent him a text about fixing their son’s car seat straps. But he was glad he listened.
As the Tennessee mom shared on Facebook, she knows she can be a bit overprotective when it comes to car seat safety. Back from maternity leave, she demanded husband David send regular updates about how her baby was faring without mom.
David complied and sent his wife a photo of son William strapped into his car seat as they were leaving Walgreen’s that afternoon. But Rebecca saw something that worried her. She wrote:
My nagging wife reply was to correct William’s position in the car seat — the straps were too loose and the chest clip was way too low. And because I know my husband, I’m sure that he laughed at me and rolled his eyes before tightening the car seat and fixing the chest clip.
Only 15 minutes later, Rebecca got a frightening update from her husband. David called her to tell her, “Honey, we had a car wreck. We are fine, but the car is going to be totaled.”
Just a few miles from their house, a woman had pulled in front of oncoming traffic. Her husband tried to stop, but they hit the side of the woman’s SUV at 50 miles an hour.
David was injured in the crash — he dislocated three toes and broke his foot in three places. However, thanks to the car seat, the baby did much better:
My precious little bundle of joy was so well restrained in his car seat, THAT HE DIDN’T EVEN WAKE UP. Even with the impact of the two cars, William only received a minor jolt — so insignificant that he was able to continue on with his nap, and then spend the next two hours flirting with nurses in the Le Bonheur ED.
Rebecca was careful to make sure they always followed the standard for keeping an infant safe in the car. They put their son in a rear-facing seat with a snugly-fitting five point harness. The seat base was secure and didn’t move more than an inch in any direction.
And because of their care — and Rebecca’s last minute correction — she knows her son escaped a more serious consequence from the accident:
I am so thankful that my husband took the extra one minute that was necessary to put William in his car seat safely. I can’t even begin to imagine how different the outcome could have been. I truly believe that the reason my family is at home sitting on the couch with a pair of crutches instead of down at the hospital is because of my annoying nagging mom voice.
Though she’s grateful to the car seat for doing its job, she was also careful to point out that it is going directly in the garbage … after she cuts up the straps and makes sure it’s clearly marked as defective. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says that car seats should be replaced after a moderate or severe crash.
Though the seat they chose was expensive, Rebecca and her husband are planning to invest in the same brand again. She wrote:
When my husband and I realized it would have to be replaced he turned to me and said, “We are getting the same damn car seat because that thing did his job.”
However, Rebecca emphasizes that it’s not necessary to purchase a high-end seat to protect your child. She told Dearly:
“It doesn’t matter what price range you have, all seats are safe in the US in the event of a crash. They may even be available for free at your local health department if you don’t have the means to pay for one.”
The most important thing is to read the instructions and guidelines carefully and be sure the seat is properly installed. (Fortunately, a local hospital or police department can help.) And no matter how tempting, avoid aftermarket items like cushions and strap padding, which can compromise the safety of the seat in a crash.
Rebecca is eager to share her hard-won knowledge of car seat safety with other parents who might not know that they could be putting their child in danger whenever they drive out. Though her beloved Volkswagen has been totaled, she wrote that “cars can be replaced — my boys can’t.”
Having seen firsthand what a good seat can do, she wrote that she’s now thanking God for watching over her family, the emergency staff for taking care of them, Britax for making a great car seat, “and most of all thanking my husband — who has finally proven that yes indeed he is actually listening when I nag him!”