Dear Parents: Make Sure Your Child’s Car Seat Chest Clip Is High Enough

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“Friends let’s have a quick chat about something that some of my family members think makes me a super annoying overprotective mom: car seat safety.

So today, my first day back from maternity leave, I demanded that my husband send me hourly updates and recaps on how baby William was handling his first day away from mommy. 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.

Woman takes screenshot of texts between her and her husband discussing car seat safety
Courtesy Rebecca Tafaro Boyer

At 2:30 my 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.’ 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. My precious little bundle of joy was so well restrained in his car seat, THAT HE DIDN’T EVEN WAKE UP.

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.

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.

Woman takes a photo of damaged car hood after husband and baby got into a car accident
Courtesy Rebecca Tafaro Boyer

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.

And do y’all know what happens now to the beautiful three-month-old car seat that protected my little monkey man? 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. When my husband and I realized it would have to be replaced he turned to me and said, “We are getting the same damn car seat because that thing did his job.” I am more than happy to shell out another $200 to Britax for protecting my baby.

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, at your local children’s hospital, or local police department.”

Father holds his newborn baby while they play together on the couch
Courtesy Rebecca Tafaro Boyer

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rebecca Tafaro Boyer of Memphis, Tennessee. Subscribe to our free email newsletter, Living Better—your ultimate guide for actionable insights, evidence backed advice, and captivating personal stories, propelling you forward to living a more fulfilling life.

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