Car accidents are scary even when they’re not life-threatening. But when the cargo you’re carrying is precious, the stakes are higher.
That’s why so many parents are adamant about proper car seat use for children and babies. There are so many aspects to consider, including the placement of the straps and the way the car seat locks together, that it’s not unusual for someone to forget a crucial step.
The seats are only as good as their users, and user error can mean fatal consequences. Fortunately for one baby girl, the car seat she was in saved her life, and now her mother wants everyone to know about the importance of proper car seat use.
The story is not all happy, though. Catherine Howell has a young daughter named Joy. On Dec. 10, Howell’s mother, Anna Kenney, picked up Joy to spend some time with her.
U.S. Route 395 in Washington was coated in snow and authorities later determined that Kenney had been driving faster than was safe considering the snowy conditions.
At some point, Kenney lost control of her vehicle, swerved into oncoming traffic and hit two other cars. She was not wearing a seat belt, though the family says on their GoFundMe page that experts have said the seat belt wouldn’t have saved her in this case.
Sadly, the grandmother passed away on the scene. One-year-old little Joy was ejected from the vehicle on impact as her car seat had not been properly installed, and she went sailing through the air still strapped into her Graco car seat.
She landed, unhurt, on the shoulder of the road. A witness who saw the whole thing approached the child and comforted her, even though she wasn’t crying and didn’t seem to be in pain.
“She was ejected and by no means should she have survived the crash, so it’s just a miracle,” Howell later told KREM.
“The car seat is the one thing you buy specifically to save your child’s life, so if you’re not doing it properly you are ruining its design. Every time you put your child in the car seat it’s important.”
After experiencing this terrifying ordeal, Howell has posted on Facebook to raise people’s awareness of just how life-saving proper car seat etiquette can be.
“This morning my mom Anna Marie Playfair Kenney and Joy were in a car accident on Highway 395,” she wrote on Dec. 10. “My mom was killed on the scene, Joy was ejected from the car.”
“Joy was transported to the hospital with minor scrapes and bruises, the EMTs said she was laughing and playing with them in the ambulance. She will be in the hospital overnight for observations.
“Please know, my family is going through a lot right now. We have received a lot of calls, texts, and messages and because of that you might not get a response. Please know we are grateful for your thoughts and prayers, we are just processing this information and need some time. ❤️”
“This is what a fatal car crash looks like,” she wrote in another post. “This is what a car seat looks like after an ejection. It looks just fine, just some scrapes.”
“This is what a baby girl looks like after an ejection while in a car seat, she too was just fine. Some little bumps on her forehead but nothing major. The neck brace was a precaution, and the band on her arm is an IV.”
“Defensive driving and a properly fitted and installed car seat saved Joy’s life. Thank you Graco for your product. We will be throwing away this car seat, but we will replace it with another one of your products.”
“Thank you Mom for looking out for my baby girl at your own expense. I love you more than words can express, I will see you again. Don’t worry mom, Joy is just fine.”
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