Even though proper car seat installation and usage can be confusing, it's absolutely vital for parents to make sure they're following the guidelines correctly. Now, one mom's heartbreaking car seat safety post is making the rounds on Facebook. And while it's hard to read, her story about losing her son teaches other parents an important lesson.
Christine Miller, a vlogger for Growing Humans, shared a post she'd written on Car Seat Consultants about her son Kyle, who was killed in a car accident while sitting in a booster seat at the age of three, when an impaired driver ran a light and hit their minivan. (Many parents accidentally move their children up to booster seats too soon, and minimum weight booster seat warnings aren't always the clearest.) In her post, Miller wrote all about the pain of losing her young son and how much it still affects her 13 years later:
Losing Kyle was like being plunged straight into hell, a pain and agony beyond description. If the scars on my heart were visible, people would gasp every time they saw me. In some ways maybe that would make it easier, but instead I carry those scars and pain inside, invisible to everyone except those who know me deeply. People see me and think I'm just a regular person, but I'm not. I'm scarred beyond belief. I've walked through hell and still carry a piece of it inside me. I've come to realize that this kind of loss is not something you ever get over or make peace with, it's something you eventually learn how to contain in a box of fire inside your heart, and keep a lid on so that you can function on a day to day basis.
Miller went on to write that she wished she had known about the proper car seat safety requirements, writing,
Had I just known about the dangers of booster seats for toddlers, had somebody warned me, I would have put him in a 5-point harness car seat ... and that simple difference would have changed everything. It would have saved his life.
And she expressed that she knew other parents didn't always like being told how to take care of their own children, but that in cases having to do with car seat safety, she could not "have another child's death on my conscience," imploring other parents who saw kids in unsafe car seat situations to speak up too.
Car crashes kill far too many children every year, and a recent study from The Journal of Pediatrics found that 43 percent of children who die in car crashes were not properly restrained.
If now seems like a good time to review regulations and tips, here's a good guide to car seat safety. And heartfelt thanks for Miller, for opening back up her own pain in an attempt to spare other parents from the same.