It’s always wonderful for parents to see their children surpass developmental milestones. However, there is one stage that parents may not wish their children to reach as soon as they reach the age of two: switching the car seat from rear-facing to forward-facing.
While we’ve always been taught that’s the appropriate age, one mother’s tale suggests that may not be the case. Tanya Bender felt she was doing what was best for her daughter when she flipped her car seat around on the girl’s second birthday, but she now wishes other parents to comprehend why.
Bender thought she was doing the right thing by putting her 2-year-old in a forward-facing car seat, however a horrible tragedy showed her incorrect. She now regrets she hadn’t been in such a hurry to relocate her before she outgrown the height and weight restrictions.
Her seat was appropriately fitted in the car per car seat standards and current law, she posted on Facebook. She would not have sustained any injuries if she had been rear facing.
Because of the severity of the collision and her car seat position, the youngster was internally decapitated.
Internal decapitation happens when the ligaments that connect the skull to the spine in the neck are cut, and survival is uncommon. A 2005 study at a Philadelphia hospital found that just 31% of kids who had this sort of damage survived.
Aniyah was internally severed at her C1 vertebra after the accident, according to Bender, and is lucky to be just partially paraplegic. She will never be able to play sports, tumbling, horseback riding, or cheering, the mother wrote at the time.
Since their bodies are still developing, kids are more likely than adults to suffer internal decapitation in vehicle accidents. Not only do newborns’ heads account for 25% of their whole body weight, as opposed to 6% for adults, but their necks and spines are also substantially weaker to begin with.
The vertebrae of a child are joined by cartilage rather than ossified bone. These connections, known as synchondroses, are gradually closing over time, Its website explains Car Seats for the Littles. None of the cartilaginous gaps have completed ossification before the age of two. These cartilage parts have the potential to extend up to two inches. Even a quarter-inch strain can rupture the spinal column, leading in paralysis or death.
The fact that it’s recommended to keep ones child rear-facing until they’re at least two years old doesn’t mean parents should turn their children’s car seats on their second birthday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommended that children stay in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the manufacturer’s maximum height or weight restriction.
In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics modified their instructions to align with the NHTSA, stating that parents should retain their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat, whichever comes first.
Benjamin Hoffman, a pediatrician and child injury prevention specialist at Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland, explained why a rear-facing car seat may make a difference for toddlers and their developing necks. In an accident, the head and neck are rapidly propelled forward, and the same forces that might cause whiplash in an adult can possibly cause the spine of a small kid to separate and harm the spinal cord, he explained.
When a kid is in a rear-facing car seat, the power of the collision is distributed differently. If the kid is rear-facing, all of the impact is distributed across the full back of the child, enabling it to be taken by the seat and cradling the head and neck to protect the most vulnerable area of the body.
Bender’s post went viral after she shared Aniyah’s tale in 2018, with others encouraging their parent friends not to be so quick to change car seats if their children haven’t outgrown the height and weight constraints.
That’s correct, Aniyah is now eight years old and looks to be content, healthy, and prospering. Still, her mother’s warning remains. Everyone anticipated her story to end differently, yet she miraculously lived. She was an exception.
Perhaps, as a result of her mother’s desire to share, much fewer kids will encounter themselves in the terrible predicament that this family experienced and overcame.