LANCASTER, Pa. – A mother’s post of her destroyed car with two perfectly intact car seats is reminding parents everywhere of the importance of proper car seat installation and use.
Jenna Casado Rabberman posted the photo to Facebook on Tuesday and it’s already been shared nearly 100,000 times.
Rabberman told ABC News she was driving her two young sons — Beckett, 2.5 and Brooks, 6 weeks — when she was in a crash.
Though the car was totaled, the boys were “completely unharmed.”
Alisa Baer, also known as The Car Seat Lady and an expert in car seat safety, said it’s not the first time she’s seen a child properly buckled into a properly installed car seat come away from a crash with no injuries. The three-person The Car Seat Lady advocacy group has installed a collective 45,000 car seats in its more than 30 years.
“We know car seats are very effective when used and even more effective used properly,” Baer told ABC News.
Rabberman said she’s a “pretty relaxed parent” in most ways, but not with car seats. “I feel like it’s such an easy thing that I can do to keep them safe,” she said. “I know that I would never be able to forgive myself if anything happened to my children because I didn’t take the time to do something so simple to protect them. I don’t think any parent could live with that.”
Baer told ABC News there are four things often overlooked when it comes to proper car seat usage:
1. Transitioning too soon: This can be from rear-to-front facing or from a five-point-harness to a booster seat (where the vehicle seat belt is used as the form of restraint) and to just the seat belt alone.
2. Not using the tether strap: Baer said that every forward facing car seat manufactured in the United States comes with a tether strap and every vehicle manufactured since 2000 comes with three places to secure that strap. The tether is important, she said, because it reduces head movement by 4 to 6 inches. Head injuries are the most common form of injury in a car crash.
3. Everyone, including adults, need to be buckled especially while in the back seat: Baer said that even if a child is restrained properly, an unbelted adult can become a “human missile” in a car crash, severely injuring others in the car. Studies show, she said, that the people who aren’t buckled up are up to three times more likely to die in that same crash.
4. Check snugness: Baer said, “Make sure the seat is snug to the car and the child snug in the harness.”
As for Rabberman, she said she has a few minor injuries but it will take a long time before she feels comfortable with her kids in a vehicle again. “I debated on sharing this photo but decided that if I could make one person think twice about buckling their child in then our accident would have a purpose.”