If you've got a child under age two in a front-facing car seat, you should probably hear Angela Brown's devastating story.
The mom of two was driving home from a dentist appointment back in February with both of her daughters secured in their car seats, when her SUV slammed into a tree head on and then flipped over, with the tree landing on top of the car.
It's every parent's worst nightmare. And luckily, both kids survived the crash. But while Angela's younger daughter—who had been riding in a rear-facing car seat—came away basically injury-free, her other daughter, who was almost two and had been secured in a forward-facing seat, broke two vertebrae and tore the ligament in a third vertebra in her spine.
So heartbreaking! And while it's been three months since the accident, Angela's older child is still being treated for her injuries, with no time frame yet specified for when she's expected to make a full recovery. Which is why Angela took to Facebook to share her story, in the hopes of keeping other parents from making the same mistake.
"I write this sitting next to my nearly 2 year old (she is two tomorrow) in her hospital bed finally asleep after yet another rough day. And my almost one year old asleep in her pram," she began. "So as you can see two children in the same car crash, restrained properly, one with life threatening injuries and the other with none. I was always unsure about when turning [sic] my babies around but after our crash and the hard evidence we are presented with I will forever rearward face my babies as long as I possibly can."
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children older than one. And while many state's child passenger laws do not yet require safety seats to remain rear-facing until age two, it is the AAP's recommendation that infants and toddlers should ride facing the rear of the vehicle as long as possible and definitely until they are at least two years old. When a baby outgrows his or her infant seat, they should still sit in a rear-facing, convertible seat because this type of car seat offers better protection to a child's head, neck, and spine during a car crash. You can review their full list of Car Seat Safety Recommendations here.
In the meantime, let Angela's story serve as an important wake-up call. "Don't make the same mistake as I did," she pleads in her post. "It could cost you your baby's life."