Mum Urges Parents To Use Rear-Facing Car Seats After Toddler Sustains Life-Threatening Injuries In Crash

'My happy normal world shattered and I woke up to my new nightmare life.'

25/05/2016 18:01 | Updated 27 May 2016

A mum has issued an impassioned plea for parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats for "as long as possible", after her daughter sustained life-threatening injuries in a car crash.

Angela Brown, from New South Wales, Australia, took to Facebook to share her experiences on the day her "happy normal world shattered" and she "woke up to a new nightmare life".

"Don't make the same mistake as I did," she wrote on Tuesday 24 May. "It could cost you your baby's life."

Brown was returning from a dentist appointment with her two daughters, on 26 February, when her SUV crashed into a tree at 100kms (62miles) per hour and flipped over its bonnet onto its roof.

The impact caused the tree to snap and come crashing down on top of the car with Brown and her daughters, now aged two and nearly one, inside.

Her youngest daughter, who was sat in a rear facing car seat, had no injuries other than a small bruise on her shoulder.

However, her eldest daughter, who had been sat in a forward facing car seat, had a large laceration on her head, where the air conditioning control vent had come loose and hit her. When she taken to hospital doctors discovered she had torn ligaments and broken two of the vertebrae in her neck.

"She was one of the youngest to be fitted with a Halo Brace, the doctor told us that most children with her injury don't normally make it," wrote Brown.

"So far we have been treating her injury for three months with no idea of when she will be fully recovered."

"I was always unsure about when turning 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."

Kat Furlong, safety manager at Good Egg Safety, spoke to The Huffington Post UK about how rear-facing car seats help to protect children in car accidents.

“When you have a frontal collision, all the occupants of the car move forward on impact," she explained. 

"This is why we need to wear seat belts and children have child seats – to stop us moving too far forward and help to absorb the energy from the collision.  

"However, for young children in high force frontal impacts, like this one, the forward facing car seat causes the child to move forward, and when the harness restrains them, their head continues forward.  This puts great strain on the child’s spine and neck, which can result in serious injury or death.

"By being rear facing, the neck strain is largely avoided.  This is because the child is pushed back into the child seat, which absorbs a large amount of the force, while keeping the child’s head, neck and spine fully aligned.

"Babies and children are safest rear facing in the car for as long as possible, ideally to age four.  There are lots of rear facing to age four (18kg) car seats available, with many stores stocking affordable options.”


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