When Angela Brown was driving home from a dentist appointment on a typical February afternoon, her two daughters were secured in their car seats — but after her SUV slammed into a tree, flipped, and had the tree land atop their upside-down vehicle, both of her daughters weren't protected equally.
The difference between her little girls and their car seats was that one of her daughters, who was nearly 2 years old at the time, was in a forward-facing car seat and broke her back in two places. Her other child was in a rear-facing car seat and had no injuries aside from a small bruise on her shoulder.
"So as you can see two children in the same car crash, restrained properly, one with life threatening injuries and the other with none," their mother, Angela Brown, wrote on Facebook. "I was always unsure about when turning my babies around but after our crash and the hard evidence we are presented with I will forever rearward face my babies as long as I possibly can."
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children stay in rear-facing car seats as long as possible, at least until they are 2 years old. When a baby outgrows his or her infant seat, they should still sit in a rear-facing, convertible seat because this type of car seat offers better protection to a child's head, neck, and spine during a car crash.
Three months after the devastating accident, Angela's daughter is still trying to heal from her injuries with no time frame for when she will be fully recovered. She broke two vertebrae and tore the ligament in a third vertebra in her spine.
"She was one of the youngest to be fitted with a Halo Brace. The doctor told us that most children with her injury don't normally make it," Angela described. "Don't make the same mistake as I did. It could cost you your baby's life."