Getting your child a car seat doesn’t guarantee they’re going to have a safe ride. You also have to know how to position the seat and fasten your child in safely, too. It sounds obvious now, but you know what they say — common sense isn’t always that common.
That’s something Rebecca Tafaro Boyer learned a couple of weeks ago when her husband and baby went out for a ride. She never could have predicted that a nagging text she sent her husband would end up saving their little boy William’s life.
Rebecca shared her moving cautionary tale on Facebook, proving that parents can never be too cautious. She begins:
Friends, let’s have a quick chat about something that some of my family members think makes me a super annoying overprotective mom — car seat safety.
So today, my first day back from maternity leave, I demanded that my husband send me hourly updates and recaps on how baby William was handling his first day away from mommy. This afternoon around 2:15, I got a text from my hubby during their trip to Walgreens. 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.
Turns out Rebecca's annoying text to her husband David ended up saving their kid's life. A few minutes later, she received an unfortunate update from him:
At 2:30 my phone rang, my husband’s panicked voice came through the line, “Honey, we had a car wreck. We are fine, but the car is going to be totaled.” 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. 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.
Thanks to the carefully secured car seat, baby William barely even woke up from the nap he was taking in the backseat, even though the car was totaled. Sadly, David didn't get out of the crash quite as unscathed.
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. My husband didn’t fare quite as well — his foot is broken in three places, has three dislocated toes, and we go back to the doctor Monday to make sure that he doesn’t need surgery.
Rebecca feels vindicated after her nagging-wife reply to David ended up saving their baby's life. She writes, "The car is a loss, but cars can be replaced — my boys can't."
Since she used to work as a NICU nurse, Rebecca knows a lot about car safety for children. Before William was born, she and David attended a child car safety class that covered "everything from CPR to car seats," Rebecca told Bored Panda.
She went on to share some basics that every parent should know when taking their kid for a car ride:
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.
She credits David for taking an extra minute to secure William in his seat, saying she "truly believe[s] that the reason [her] family is at home sitting on the couch with a pair of crutches instead of down at the hospital is because of [her] annoying nagging mom voice."
It definitely does pay off to be the annoying mom sometimes! As for the Britax car seat that saved William's life? Rebecca know exactly what she'll do with it:
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.
Although the car seat cost the family $200, they're committed to getting the same one based on how well it did its job in protecting baby William.
Many mothers found Rebecca's story relatable and took to sharing their own tales of nagging that paid off in the end:
After seeing how many moms read the post (which got 2.2k shares overnight), Rebecca decided to share some other tips she learned from the accident with her followers:
1. Depending on which seat you choose for your little one, the carry bar may need to be locked in a specific position to adequately protect your child. For our seat, this means it can be at the three lower levels, but not in carry mode. This is because if the car seat were to be ejected from the car and land face down, it would act like a turtle shell to protect our little nuggets. If the carry bar is in an upright position, then it is not able to cocoon my child and leaves him vulnerable to flying debris like metal and glass. This may differ between manufacturers — but always check your manual to make sure! The Britax car seat has a diagram printed on the side of the seat demonstrating this information that I had never even noticed until today.
2. 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. [It also] 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 softeners!
3. If you have to discard your car seat after a crash, it can be recycled. BUT, before you stick that thing out on the curb with your bottles and cans, make sure to go HAM on it with a knife and pair of scissors! Cut out the straps, remove the fabric, spray paint it with the word defective, and then drop an anvil on it for good measure. People will actually scoop your defective car seat up off of the side of the road and attempt to resell it in an effort to make a quick buck! By removing the straps and the padding you make it impossible for someone else to come along and unknowingly put their bundle of joy in a seat that could compromise their baby’s safety. I cringe to think about how many people could be driving around with defective car seats and not even know it .
Rebecca also learned from commenters that car insurance companies often reimburse the cost of a car seat in the event of an accident. She luckily had kept a spare from her baby shower, but managed to donate the new car seat from the insurance company to the Forrest Spence Fund, a non-profit that assists critically and chronically ill children throughout the Mid-South.
As for the car seat that broke during the crash, that one was donated to the NICU unit at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital to educate new parents on the importance of child car safety.
What an altruistic family using their cautionary tale to effect change through direct action in their community!