Today is the three year anniversary of the scariest moment of my life.
When Ellis was 8 months old we were driving in the car. I turned and got t-boned. The split second after the airbag hit my face and before I heard Ellis cry was terrifying. In fact it is hard to write about, because it is hard for me even to think about it.
It was a terrible accident, but we were lucky in so many ways that day. Had the accident happened 5 minutes before we would have been pushed into construction workers. Had we skidded two more feet we probably would have flipped over into a ditch. Had the car been struck further back, instead of on the passenger side wheel, the impact would have been closer to my child. Even in the midst of tragedy we had luck luck luck and blessings, blessings, blessings.
I took a lot away from the accident. First and foremost, I took away my live, perfect child. The idea that we brushed against a different outcome haunts me. I still cry often if I get startled in the car. Tears are my involuntary reaction. One of the things I can control, and the most important take away from this accident,is the importance of seat belt and car seat safety.
I was wearing my seat belt and Ellis was properly restrained in a rear facing infant car seat when we were hit. He was not injured at all in our crash even though the car was totaled, the airbags deployed and we had to crawl out the only functioning door in the backseat.
I take car seat safety very seriously now, which is why three years later, Ellis still rides rear facing. He is a lightweight so he will probably make it to 4 years before he reaches the 40 pound weight limit for our seat.
Extended rear facing is sometimes thought of as a fringy granola kind of parenting choice, but I am not sure why. Rear facing is 500% (or 5x) safer for your child in a crash (and that is not hyperbole, that is the actual statistic ).
So we rear face and will as long as we can.
The universe taught me a scary lesson that day three years ago, but I think of it every time I pull the straps tight on my precious children. I was lucky enough to get more chances to keep them safe.