Mom's Story Proves There's No Such Thing as Being Too Careful When It Comes to Car Seat Safety

A mom from Tennessee asked her husband to fix their baby's car seat straps. Moments later, it made all the difference.

In 2018, a mom from Memphis, Tennessee made headlines after her post about car seat safety went viral. On July 14, Rebecca Tafaro Boyer took to Facebook to share a story of how being a diligent about her baby's car seat straps made a world of difference—because moments later, her husband was in a car accident with their infant son in the car.

Never Too Careful

In her post, Boyer shared exactly what happened that day: it was her first day back from maternity leave and she was understandably nervous about being away from her son.

"I demanded that my husband send me hourly updates and recaps on how baby William was handling his first day away from mommy," she wrote. "This afternoon around 2:15, I got a text from my hubby during their trip to Walgreens. My nagging wife reply was to correct William's position in the car seat - the straps were too loose and the chest clip was way too low. And because I know my husband, I'm sure that he laughed at me and rolled his eyes before tightening the car seat and fixing the chest clip."

As it would turn out, Boyer's advice to her husband turned out to be potentially life-saving, because 15 minutes later, her phone rang. "My husband's panicked voice came through the line, 'Honey, we had a car wreck. We are fine, but the car is going to be totaled,'" she shared. "The boys were less than three miles from our house when a woman pulled into oncoming traffic to try and make a quick left turn. David just didn't have enough time to stop - it could have happened to anyone. He slammed on the brakes at nearly 50 miles an hour before colliding with the front passenger side door of her SUV."

Boyer added that that her baby was so well-restrained in his car seat that he actually never even woke up during the accident. "Even with the impact of the two cars, William only received a minor jolt - so insignificant that he was able to continue on with his nap, and then spend the next two hours flirting with nurses in the Le Bonheur ED," she reported. "My husband didn't fare quite as well - his foot is broken in three places, has three dislocated toes, and we go back to the doctor Monday to make sure that he doesn't need surgery. The car is a loss, but cars can be replaced - my boys can't."

A Reminder for Car Seat Safety

Boyer's post served as an important reminder to all parents and caregivers on car seat safety, and Boyer added some tips of her own: "All infants should be rear-facing in the back seat until at least the age of two and snuggly secured in a 5-point harness in a car seat base that does not move more than one inch in any direction. I am so thankful that my husband took the extra one minute that was necessary to put William in his car seat safely. I can't even begin to imagine how different the outcome could have been. I truly believe that the reason my family is at home sitting on the couch with a pair of crutches instead of down at the hospital is because of my annoying nagging mom voice."

Boyer also pointed out an important reminder to parents that if your child is involved in a car crash—even if everyone is perfectly safe—you will still need to discard of any car seats that were in the crash.

"And do y'all know what happens now to the beautiful three month old car seat that protected my little monkey man?" Boyer wrote. "It goes STRAIGHT IN THE TRASH, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) my expensive, barely broken in car seat is now garbage. Any car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe motor vehicle incident where the car cannot be driven away from the scene of the crash immediately becomes defective."

In many cases, you can also contact your car seat manufacturer, who may be able to send a replacement. In the Boyers' case, they decided that they would get "the same damn car seat because that thing did [its] job."

In the wake of the incident, Boyer expressed pure gratitude—and focused on raising awareness.

She summed up her original post: "Tonight I am on my knees thanking God for watching over my two precious boys, thanking the amazing staff at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Emergency Department for checking out my little man so quickly, praising Britax for making an incredibly safe car seat, lamenting the loss of my beloved Volkswagen Jetta, and most of all thanking my husband - who has finally proven that yes indeed he is actually listening when I nag him! Information on car seat safety and proper installation can be found online via safekids.org, at your local children's hospital, or local police department."

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