A 16 month old and four year old escaped serious injury and possibly worse because their mother took the time to assure…

Posted by Wakulla County Fire Rescue on Saturday, 31 October 2015

In the United States, photos of what appears to be a serious three-car pileup – published on the Facebook page of the Wakulla County Fire and Rescue in Florida – have made the rounds of social media as well as on a number of news sites, including Yahoo!. The public’s attention was centred on a Hyundai Sonata that looks to have taken the brunt of the impact, with the rear half of the car almost completely demolished.

Looking at the images closely, it’s hard to see how anyone sitting at the rear would’ve managed to even survive such a crash in the first place – the rear section has been pushed so far forward that the back seats have caved in, with the right-side seat nearly touching the back of the seat in front.

Remarkably, however, the two toddlers who were in the back at the time – one aged 16 months, the other four years old – survived the horrific collision with “what appear to be minor abrasions.” That’s because their mother secured both children using child safety seats, a move which undoubtedly saved their lives.

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the younger child was incorrectly strapped facing forwards, instead of in a rear-facing position as recommended for a toddler of that age. Fortunately, such installation actually helped the infant to survive the incident, as the impact came from the rear.

However, we still urge parents to install their child seats in a rear-facing position until the child reaches the seat’s maximum weight limit. This reduces the chances of head and spinal cord injury in very young children in a forward collision, which are what the vast majority of road incidents consist of.

Although we strongly recommend that child seats are fitted correctly as outlined by the manufacturer, we also cannot stress enough that the use of child seats here drastically reduced the forces acted upon the children in a collision – which in this instance was strong enough to break the 16-month-old’s child seat – than if they were left completely unsecured.

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“We are very thankful that the occupants escaped serious injury,” WCFR chief Mike Morgan told The Huffington Post. “I communicated with the mother this morning and she advised she had researched the seats and felt her children met the recommendations to secure them as she did. WCFR is proud that this mother did choose to secure them and the fact that some feel it was not done according to some recommendation is secondary. The facts are that the children survived.”

Parents, we hope that this amazing story is enough to convince you of how crucial proper child safety seats are in saving lives. Children should always be properly secured whenever they are in a car – under no circumstance should a child ever be left unsecured in a moving vehicle. Please share this story so that more children’s lives will be saved in seemingly unsurvivable accidents like this.