New mom Rebecca Tafaro Boyer was on her first day back from maternity leave a couple of weeks ago when she got a text message from her husband David, who had promised to keep her posted on baby’s first day away from mom. The text included a photo of their baby son William snoozing in his car seat with a note from dad stating that they were out running errands. As Boyer examined the photo of her sleeping son, she realized that her husband had made a car seat safety error.
Boyer, who calls herself a “#carseatcopmom,” immediately texted her husband back about his car seat safety gaffe.
“That chest clip isn’t high enough or nearly tight enough,” she wrote. “It needs to be at nipple level.” She requested that her husband correct his car seat safety error before he and baby William moved on to their next errand…and it’s a good thing she did.
In a Facebook post that has since been shared over 31,000 times, Boyer writes that just 15 minutes after receiving the text and correcting the chest clip positioning, her husband and baby William were involved in a car accident at 50 miles per hour.
“The boys were less than three miles from our house when a woman pulled into oncoming traffic to try and make a quick left turn,” she wrote. “David just didn’t have enough time to stop – it could have happened to anyone. He slammed on the brakes at nearly 50 miles an hour before colliding with the front passenger side door of her SUV. 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.”
Boyer continued her Facebook post with some vital information about car seat safety and also what to do after you have an accident.
The car is a loss, but cars can be replaced – my boys can’t.
All infants should be REAR FACING in the back seat until at least the age of two and snuggly secured in a 5 POINT HARNESS in a car seat base that does not move more than one inch in any direction. 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.
And do y’all know what happens now to the beautiful three month old car seat that protected my little monkey man? It goes STRAIGHT 👏 IN 👏 THE 👏 TRASH 👏 according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) my expensive, barely broken in car seat is now garbage. Any car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe motor vehicle incident where the car cannot be driven away from the scene of the crash immediately becomes defective. 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.” I am more than happy to shell out another $200 to Britax for protecting my baby.
Tonight I am on my knees thanking God for watching over my two precious boys, thanking the amazing staff at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Emergency Department for checking out my little man so quickly, praising Britax for making an incredibly safe car seat, lamenting the loss of my beloved Volkswagen Jetta, and most of all thanking my husband – who has finally proven that yes indeed he is actually listening when I nag him!
Boyer’s “nagging” text to her husband came in the absolute nick of time—and thank goodness he took her instructions to heart! They are instructions all of us would do well to follow when we are buckling our babies into their car seats. In an update to her viral Facebook post, Boyer also revealed that she had learned that most car insurance companies will cover the cost of replacing a car seat that has been involved in a crash, which is a huge win for parents and a huge incentive for them to do the RIGHT thing and throw any seat that has been involved in a crash in the trash—no matter how “good” it looks!
Car seat safety means leaving the car seat “accessories” at the store
Boyer also included a warning about accessories made to go on car seat straps to make your child more comfortable. She says:
…those cute little car seat strap cushions that seem so necessary to protect your baby’s sensitive skin from being rubbed by the strap? DEADLY! Any aftermarket item added to your seat can compromise the safety of your child. Adding padding to the straps in an effort to make your child more comfortable will enable your little one to slide out from underneath the security of the harness and can cause them to be ejected from the seat and prevents the harness from compressing completely in the event of a crash. This includes dressing your baby in blankets and winter coats! You should never attach anything to your car seat that isn’t specifically made by the manufacturer. So when registering or buying a gift for your favorite preggo – skip the strap softener.
The bottom line is, that chest clip needs to be tight and at the right height to do it’s job, so don’t loosen it, lower it, or add padding to it in any way if you truly want your babes to be safe in the car…and trust me, as Boyer found out, YOU DO!
I’m so thankful little William was fully protected in this crash, and pray that many parents will hear Boyer’s message about car seat safety and double-check those straps EVERY time they put their sweet baby in the car.