By: Julie Scagell/Scary Mommy Car seats can be confusing. Knowing the proper way to install them, when your child should move from rear to front facing, and when exactly to move your child to a booster seat based on their height and weight can be a stressful decision. It can also mean the difference between life and death.
Christine Miller, of Growing Humans, selflessly shared the heartbreaking story of her son, Kyle, who died in a car accident 12 years ago this month. She’s sharing his story because she says, she’s made it her life’s mission to educate others on the dangers of booster seats if used too soon. Miller believes Kyle’s death was preventable had she put him in a 5-point harness instead of a booster, and she is here to warn other parents against making that same devastating mistake.
12 years ago today was the last time I saw this beautiful smile, kissed his sweet face or felt his little arms wrap…
Miller’s story was shared on the car seat safety page Car Seat Consultants, where Miller writes, “12 years ago today was the last time I saw this beautiful smile, kissed his sweet face or felt his little arms wrap around my neck. I had no idea that morning with him would be the last time I heard his adorable laugh and sweet voice call me mommy.”
She also shares a video of Kyle’s short life where she explains that her son died after their minivan was struck by another car that ran a red light. Kyle was in a booster seat, which Miller thought was the correct car seat for her son at his weight of 40 pounds. He was thrown from the van and died on impact.
“Losing Kyle was like being plunged straight into hell, a pain, and agony beyond description. If the scars on my heart were visible, people would gasp every time they saw me,” Miller says. “Had I just known about the dangers of booster seats for toddlers, had somebody warned me, I would have put him in a 5-point harness car seat…and that simple difference would have changed everything. It would have saved his life,” Miller explains.
Losing a child would be the worst pain imaginable. Knowing that their death could have been prevented would be absolutely unbearable. “Car accidents are the #1 killer of children, and statistics show that 80-90% of car seats are installed or used incorrectly,” Miller explains. “Car seat safety is not a “parenting choice,” it’s a matter of physics and facts.”
So when is it safe to move your child into a booster seat? According to the team at The Car Seat Lady, if you can answer “Yes” to ALL the statements below, your child is safe to use a booster:
There is a shoulder AND lap belt (boosters need shoulder belts), the child is at least 40 pounds, the child is at least 4 years old and the child can sit properly the entire trip without leaning forward, slouching, sitting on their knees, playing with the shoulder belt.”
But the website cautions not to “graduate” them into a booster if you don’t need to (did you know there are 5-point harness car seats that go up to 90 pounds?). “If your child still fits into a 5-point harness car seat, leave him there,” they warn.
We urge you to read Miller’s story and watch the video. “Please consider this Kyle’s gift to you,” she says. “Use it. Share it.”
It really could help save your child’s life.