An incident that occurred recently has motivated me to encourage and re-enforce the absolute need to have infants and small children properly secured in "car seats" whenever they are traveling in a motor vehicle.
Our fire department was called to attend to a motor vehicle accident involving two vehicles. One vehicle, a full-sized van, was broadsided at a relatively high speed by a second car. Inside the van was a woman driver and a 2-year-old child. The driver was wearing her seat belt and, as far as we could ascertain on the scene, she had not suffered any serious injuries.
The child had been placed in the left rear seat and was strapped into a proper-sized child car seat. The speed at which the impact had occurred and dynamics of accident were such that had the child not been properly secured she would have been propelled across the inside of the van and collided with the impact point or ejected through the broken side windows.
It would have been a certainty that the child would have been seriously injured if not fatally. The fact that she did not appear to have suffered any serious injury aside from a scrape on the side of her face was entirely due to the care and concern the driver had in making sure that the child was secured properly in a child seat that was an appropriate size for her.
Over the years, our fire crews have worked many accidents - some of them with horrific injuries and/or deaths, and whenever children are involved we are especially pained and saddened. So, it was a great relief to find the child securely in place in the twisted wreckage and crying because she was scared, not injured. So, let me on behalf of our fire crew, thank the lady who cared enough to ensure the safety of a child in her charge.
Frank Hansen, Fire Chief, Mesa del Caballo Fire Department