Saturday, March 9, 2013

Car Accident? #CarSeatSafety

It's official. I have been in my first official accident while driving. I bumped someone once while sitting at a stop light and backed into a car in a parking lot once, but this is the first accident that I was in and decided to go to the ER for.

I was sitting at the intersection at the bottom of my street (seriously. There were only about 3 blocks left to go!) when I was rear ended. Fuss started screaming instantly. She then says, "Mama, I'm scared!" T told her it was okay to be scared but that we were okay and were getting help. Oddly enough, instead of having my phone in the cup holder or in my back pocket, I had slipped it under my thigh. Even though it was a low-speed collision, cups went flying - lost all of our lunch from Wendy's - and I had that adrenaline rush start. I held Fuss's hand as I called 911. I requested an ambulance. There was no blood. No sign of injury, but Hubby was a volunteer firefighter/EMT when we met. I knew better than to chance it.

The first thing I was told when the police came to my window, aside from being asked if there was injury, is how glad they were to see both of us were "properly restrained." Fuss was in her Graco Argos, still in her 5-point harness. She was scared and a little nervous with the EMTs but she was safe. The EMT also mentioned that it was good to see her properly restrained. They removed the car seat from the car and buckled it into the ambulance for transport to the hospital.

At this point, I was still shaking but I wanted to be evaluated as well, so I rode over with her. Hubby drove down and took care of my car and the police. He then came to the ER to wait with us. My arm was hurting. I had been trying to turn onto my street, so my arm was crossed over my chest and my head was turned. They x-rayed my shoulder and neck. Unfortunately, after the adrenaline wore off for Fuss, she said her back hurt. We left her in the seat until the doctor gave us an okay to let her out. She also had her very first x-ray. The techs were very proud of her for sitting still while they did the films.

Thankfully, we were both given a clean bill of health aside from me having a neck and shoulder strain. Fuss *may* have a low back strain. Now, the question is: Would having her be extended rear-facing have stopped that? Maybe. Maybe not. We'll never know as I chose to have her forward-facing.

However, the main reason I am writing this post is to educate. Most people don't know that MOST car seat companies tell you in their manual that they are to be REPLACED following a MINOR accident. Graco is one of them. There are a few that say you can follow the NHTSA guidelines. Always check your seat's manual for the exact specifications, though. I will be calling on Monday to have the damage assessed on my car as well as to get the insurance company to replace Fuss's seat. So, in closing, PLEASE make sure you are using your car seat correctly and that it is a safe seat! Do not use a second-hand seat unless you KNOW it has not been in an accident. (I hope to be able to do a side-by-side of the new and "accident" seats to show you can't tell based on appearances.)