I don't normally like to share stories about Terrible Things Happening to Small Children, but I'm going to make an exception for this crazy accident caught on video -- because 1) it has a happy ending, and 2) it serves as a powerful reminder to always, always, ALWAYS use a car seat.

Fair warning: the video is pretty upsetting, because it shows a toddler being ejected from a car and landing on the highway right in front of an oncoming truck. The good news is that she's fine, thanks to some miraculous last-second maneuvering by the driver of that semi (and maybe more than a little good luck/divine intervention). The bad news is that this whole horrible ordeal could have been avoided if her dad had just buckled her into her car seat.

The incident happened in Russia on January 20, and was captured by another driver's dashboard camera. In the footage, you can clearly see a Mitsubishi SUV skidding across the icy road and into the wrong lane, then being smashed by a truck -- at which point the child is FLUNG from the back of the car, right into oncoming traffic.

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Here's the video:

God, that's awful, isn't it? Thankfully, the child escaped serious injury -- she was treated for cuts and bruises, but it certainly could have been much, much worse.

So now that we're all breathing a sigh of relief that the little girl is okay, let's turn our attention to the safety issue at hand here. Russian news reports that her father had placed the child on a blanket on the shelf under the back windshield rather than strapping her into a seat. I'm sure he's had plenty of time to re-consider that decision (and the choice to try and pass someone during dangerous driving conditions), but this video is certainly a gripping visual reminder of what can happen without a car seat, isn't it?

During the force of a collision, an unbuckled little body may become a projectile, which is exactly what happened in this accident. According to the CDC, child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71 percent for infants, and by 54 percent for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years. Hopefully that little girl's father won't think twice about buckling her in from now on -- and maybe this video will help serve as a public reminder about how important it is to use the car seat, every single time.

Did your heart stop when you saw this video?


Image via YouTube