Car seat safety is a hot topic among parents, and for good reason. It seems the rules are always changing, and it may be hard for parents to keep up. For example, we flipped our older kids around to forward facing at 1 year. Everyone we knew did. That was a mere 8 years ago, but the rules have changed drastically. Now the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids remain rear-facing until at least two years of age. Furthermore, new research shows the need for young children who are just transitioning to a booster seat to be in a 5-point harness, rather than a simple seatbelt across their chest. Christine Miller, mom to a beautiful 3-year-old named Kyle knows first hand how important car seat safety is, and she’s hoping that sharing her story will save the lives of other children.
Christine had thought Kyle was ready for a booster seat with just the use of a seatbelt across his chest, as he had reached the 40-lb. threshold. Tragically, she was wrong. 12 years ago on May 29, when her mini-van was hit by an incompetent driver, Kyle was thrown from the car and killed instantly. Christine believes that had Kyle been in a booster with a 5-point harness, or better yet, rear-facing with a 5-point harness, that he would be alive today.
Kyle’s family has decided to use his death to educate others. By creating the Kyle David Miller Foundation Facebook page and sharing their Youtube video on Carseat Consultants, Kyle’s parents are hoping parents will learn better means to keep their children safe. In her post, Christine says, “We try to protect our kids from everything from pesticides, GMOs, sharp furniture corners and cancer, but then buckle them into unsafe car seats. This needs to change. Please, if you have young children or know someone with young children, research proper car seat usage and talk about it with everyone you know.”
The Youtube video shows an endless slideshow of Kyle’s beautiful face, as well as important facts such as:
*There are 5-point harness car seats that go up to 90 lbs.
*Boosters are not safe for children that young. A young child’s hips are not developed enough to withstand the crash forces a seatbelt places on their abdomen. A small child can slip under the seatbelt and/or sustain massive internal damage from the seatbelt itself.
*Rear-facing is 5x safer for toddlers. Most children can safely ride rear-facing until 3-4 years old.
*Toddlers’ and young children’s spines are not yet ossified. If the spinal cord stretches too far in a crash (a mere 6 mm) the child can suffer paralysis or death.
Christine’s heartbreaking Facebook post also describes what it is like to go on living without Kyle:
“There is not a day that passes that my heart does not ache with missing him and wondering what he would be like now. 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. In some ways maybe that would make it easier, but instead I carry those scars and pain inside, invisible to everyone except those who know me deeply. People see me and think I’m just a regular person, but I’m not. I’m scarred beyond belief. I’ve walked through hell and still carry a piece of it inside me. I’ve come to realize that this kind of loss is not something you ever get over or make peace with, it’s something you eventually learn how to contain in a box of fire inside your heart, and keep a lid on so that you can function on a day to day basis. But sometimes certain things will open that box, a song, a smell, a flash of a memory and it rages and burns through you anew. It’s a pain I will carry with me until the day I die and can finally be with my sweet son again.”
We at Her View From Home cannot imagine the pain Kyle’s family lives with every day, but we wish to say thank you to Christine and the Kyle David Miller Foundation for your courage and strength. And for helping us know how to keep our kids safe. Christine, we believe that Kyle is proud of the good work his mom is doing here on Earth until he sees you again in heaven.