As parents, we all face the test of our patience in getting our children to either buckle their car seat or stay buckled. Boy have I been there! Each –of my children has had their own unique issues with car seats. My oldest daughter, Dylan, insisted that she install herself. Bless the person who tried to help her!!! (I blame my husband for the stubborn streak, while silently admitting that it could be me). Sometimes I would have to call Grandma to have her coax my daughter into her seat and get her to buckle!
Dylan learned the hard way why we car seats are so important for safety. I was on my way to work one morning and I was more frazzled than normal. The kids wouldn’t cooperate, we were running late….you’ve probably experienced similar mornings. The kids started bellowing to have the DVD player turned on.
I leaned over to pick up the DVD player remote, and hit the edge of a tree on a back country side street. The impact was enough to flip over our minivan. We ended up facing the opposite direction upright with all of the windows blown out of the car.
It took a few moments to shake off the fog and deal with the reality of the situation. I looked back at the kids and they were still buckled, no scrapes and extremely coherent. We got the ride of a lifetime to the hospital – thankfully, the kids were absolutely fine.
A few days later, we had to go and get our belongings out of our minivan before it went to the minivan graveyard. A woman greeted me and walked me to the van. She started crying and apologized for my loss. I said, “What loss?” She said that no one could have possibly survived this accident, and that she was sorry. But we did survive. Yes, there were some bumps and bruises, but we lived -thanks to our safety belts.
Now, when our youngest (who wasn’t even born at the time of the accident) fights and fidgets with her car seat, her sisters remind us of that day when we flipped the car over and why she needs to wear her safety belt. “Hey, Mom, remember when we flipped the car over and had to go to the hospital?”
I will never forget. I take a deep breath and tell the kids that the car won’t move until everyone is safely buckled in.
Sanya Garrison is an SAP Integration Manager for Johnson & Johnson. She is also a proud working mom of three young girls: Dylan is going into middle school, Reagan is second grade and Skyler is in pre-k. Her hobbies include knitting – which can be accomplished while sitting at the park waiting for the kids to finish their activities.