My sister-in-law sent me this You Tube link about a year ago. I had watched it and felt horrible for the family. I'm so grateful that through their loss, they have gone on to tell their story to raise more awareness of their particular situation. The seat belt failed to hold their child's booster in place and he died in an automobile accident. Having watched the video, I knew that we would be purchasing a 5-point harness for K-.
I had friends who thought that I was crazy for continuing to keep K- in the traditional car seat. It was listed up to 40 pounds and she was about 42 pounds. "She's too big for that seat. She's 2 pounds over. You need to put her in a booster." Something in my mommy sense told me to hold off. Then this happened:
On March 1, 2008, K- and I were on our way from swimming lessons with friends and on the way to their house for a play date. We were going to make pizza all together for lunch. We were 2 blocks from their house. We were sitting at the bottom of a fairly sizeable hill with my turn signal on, foot on the brake and waiting to turn left. There was traffic, so I was watching some folks walk a greyhound as we waited. I remember wondering if the dog had longer legs than K-.
Then I heard something hit. I knew that a car had been hit, but had no idea it was us. I looked in the rear view mirror, saw a flash of white, looked forward and discovered that though my foot was still on the brake, we were moving. We were turning around. We are sliding towards another car.
All I could do was yell NO! There was a very large man in a very small car looking absolutely petrified as I slid around in a 180 through the intersection towards him. He could go nowhere, or he would hit the people with the dog. All the sudden, we stopped. Then I started thinking, oh no. K- is in the backseat. I started yelling to her to see if she was okay. I went to jump out of the car and had to give my door the elbow to get out. I yanked her door open and gave her the once over. We did the body part inventory and I scooped her up out of her seat. Then we came around to the back of the RAV.
It was totaled.
Here's what hit us. It was a truck from a local waterproofing company loaded down with bags of concrete and drain tile. He drove into a telephone pole after hitting me.
We all walked away just fine. We did have the EMS called out to give K- a quick check. They asked what we were in and I told them. They told us that two things kept us safe. They said that our vehicle stood up to exactly what it was designed to do and K- being in the 5-point harness is what made all the difference in this accident. That combined with the You Tube video clinched it.
It was a slow day at the park just down the street, so we even had the Metroparks Ranger hang out to direct traffic. He was one of the folks Hubs worked with and hung out to make sure that we were okay.
On an aside, we knew that we were protected by the hand of God. My friend who came to hang with me as all the accident stuff was being settled up told me that it was if God pushed our truck around and out of the way, then gently placed His hand between our RAV and the small car. When we stopped, our RAV was touching the car, but not even a scratch was found. We had turned a complete 180 and was pointed in the exact opposite direction as we were when I initially stopped. I was in perfect position to turn right instead of left! Talk about Heavenly protection!
I went home that night like a crazy mommy with disposable income and bought two Britax Regent car seats from Target.com. (I knew that the insurance would flip us one, or almost the full cost of one.) They didn't have them in the store. Here are a few things to know about the car seats:
1. They are very large, but it does fit comfortably in both my 2008 RAV4 and my husbands 1997 Tercel.
2. The LATCH only takes about 10 minutes to install on my car. Hubs' car is too old for LATCH, but the Regent installs lickety split for him, too. All told, it takes about 15 minutes to install the seat in my car (or a hair less if Hubs is doing it.) It takes about 5 minutes to install it in my husbands car. We were taught by a friend who worked for the Safe Kids Coalition on how to install it. Truly, it's a cinch.
3. It is a heavy booster, but it has a nice cushy cover and little side pockets to collect all of K-'s little treasures. My new RAV4 was peppered by rocks thrown from a high-powered weed eater and one of those rocks shattered K-'s car window. (No, we weren't in the car and yes it did require a trip to the body shop. Oh, that's an interesting story for later.) We were able to remove the car seat cover (which wasn't at all damaged), give it a good shake, a laundering and pop it right back on. It is really easy and cleans up like a dream.
Certainly, whatever the choice that people make for car seats/boosters is their own. I just wanted to let you know what works for us and how we arrived at the decision that we did. I know that there are plenty of other boosters that are 5-point harness that do cost less. In Ohio effective on 4/6/09, we do have a new booster law that requires children to be in boosters up through age 8. I thought that it was definitely the time to give people some of the information that I had to help them make their car/booster choices.
**BTW, the Browns blanket is for warmth only. We aren't sports fans and I really could care less. My aunt gave it to me as a winter car blanket. However, it is good to know that the blanket was folded and in our back seat. When we got hit, it flew out the window just like that. So for Natalie and Jamie, we'll yell GO STEELERS and ignore the Browns blanket!
Next week: Handcrafted Valentine's!