North Carolina mom-of-four Sarah Sutton was driving home from the grocery store with her kids when the unthinkable happened.
Just as she was crossing through an intersection a few miles from their home, a speeding pickup truck ran the red light and plowed straight into their car.
Witnesses raced to the car to pull her children out from the wreckage, but Sarah was still trapped inside.
One of her sons, Liam, was also trapped and couldn’t unbuckle his seatbelt, leading rescuers to believe there were only three children in the vehicle.
“A man ran a light as we were going 45 m.p.h. and crashed into us head-on…” Sarah wrote on Facebook. “People had to pull our children out of our vehicle. I was trapped inside.
“I remember a lady asking me if I had three children as I was screaming, ‘Get my babies!’ Liam could not undo his seat belt and the truck was covered by airbags and filled with smoke. It was hard for them to see him. He did get out.”
When first responders arrived, Sarah and the driver of the pickup truck were taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The children also went to the hospital, and thanks to their car seats, they made it out of the crash alive and with no serious injuries.
The kids, Alayna, 6, Liam, 5, Ryder, 3, and Aynsley, 2, were each strapped into Safety First 5-point harness car seats equipped with air bags. Even though Alayna had asked her mom to use a booster seat like her friends, Sarah knew she was safest in the car seat.
It was a serious wake-up call for us. I know the importance of car seats. I’m huge stickler about staying in the five-point harness. My 6-year-old complains because she thinks she’s a big kid. All of her friends are in booster seats already and she kept asking and saying that car seats were for babies. I was like, ‘Listen, I’m your mom, and it’s my job to keep you safe.’
After CT scans and X-rays at the ER, medical personnel couldn’t believe the entire family had survived.
Following the accident, emergency rescuers told Sarah to repurchase the same Safety First car seats because they’d been so effective.
An EMT told me that they see accidents all the time and explained that of all the vehicles they’ve come across that were in a similar condition as mine, people are usually dead. And if there are children in the car, they’re rarely ever OK. Usually, the situation is pretty grave. While I was in the hospital, one of the highway patrol officers showed me photos of the [Safety First] car seat the kids were in, and he said they were installed properly and didn’t move at all. They protected the kids’ head and necks so well.
“As we speak, I have six brand new cars seats on their way to my house in a FedEx truck,” Sarah said. “I will have two extra at all times just in case my husband or a friend needs to take the kids.”
Sarah has shared her story to spread awareness about car seat safety with the hope that other parents will ensure their children are safe in their car seats before an accident happens.
“Please, I am begging you as a mom to really look at this,” she said. “This could be you! This could be anyone! I would hate to hear about your poor innocent child that died because of a choice that you made for them that could save their life. My children beat the odds and we are very very lucky they are alive.”
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