I know some people think some things are extreme when it comes to car seat safety, often a matter of the "It won't happen to me" mindset. When mentioning clearing the car of potential projectiles, often the reaction is, "Oh, PLEASE. Whatever," ignoring the fact that even slamming on your brakes without impact is enough to make things go flying.
For one mom, Christina Hish of Denver, the reality of dangers from a projectile came true, in a very scary and serious way. The end result is over 400 stitches and many surgeries for her son, all from a soft-spouted sippy cup.
(Warning, slightly graphic picture ahead.)
On October 15th, last year, Hish and her 2-1/2-year-old, JD, were going out in their family car. Only a block away from her house, as she turned left, someone who drove straight in a left-turn lane hit her going around 45 miles per hour.
Her airbags deployed, the car was smoking, and she heard her son screaming behind her. She got out and went to him, and saw blood everywhere. He had been essentially scalped by the soft spout sippy cup he had with him.
She screamed for help, and an amazing woman removed her shirt, stood in a bra, helping her apply pressure to her son's head and they sang while waiting for emergency response.
after the bandages were removedA plastic surgeon was called in to handle JD's injuries -- his skull was fractured in three places, he required more than 200 internal and 200 external stitches, and the main muscle in his forehead was severed and not able to be repaired, meaning he will never have movement of his forehead muscles.
Being autistic and non-verbal, JD's recovery was especially difficult, especially when his eyes were completely swollen shut, but with a great support system of loving family, they helped him pull through, and now he's doing well, though he has been through a lot, will always have lasting scars and effects, and may face future surgeries as well.
JD's mom is now, understandably, a major car seat safety advocate, with focus on dangers of projectiles. Many people consider it excessive or extreme but the fact is even in situations where a person merely slams on the brakes, items go flying and everything that is loose is potentially a danger to the occupants of a vehicle (including unrestrained passengers and pets!).
The method for determining the force at which an item flies isn't tough, but to break it down for very quick calculations, just figure that the weight of an object, times the speed you're traveling equals the force at which that item would hit something if your car comes to a sudden, complete stop (like hitting something head on).
5 pound purse x 35 miles per hour = 175 pounds of force.
That's actually pretty significant if it's hitting you or your child.
It may seem silly to buckle in your purse or put your water bottle in the center console that closes, but it's worth it. Only allow soft items like blankets or stuffed animals in the car with your child, and if you need a drink, check out something like an entirely soft water bladder that can be secured to something, and would break and spill before it would go flying. I think any mom would really hate to have her cellphone damage her child, when she figured just months before, "Whatever, it's not worth the effort."
Do you take projectiles seriously? Do you secure them?
Images via Christina Hish