Local mom credits car seat with saving her son’s life

SEATTLE – A Kirkland mother credits a car seat with saving her son’s life in a rollover crash on Interstate 405.

Genevieve Buckmiller said Monday that she was two miles from home when a driver rear-ended her and her 4-year-old son at speeds of 60 mph.

“I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t hear anything until the actual impact,” she said. “We ended up spinning and flipping on the freeway across about four lanes of traffic.”

Car accidents are the number one killer of kids under the age of 12. Most of those fatalities can be prevented, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Buckmiller said when her car came to a rest, her son was unharmed, still snug in his car seat, albeit upside-down.

“I couldn’t imagine getting hit and rolling over without him strapped in. There’s no way he would’ve made it out there,” she said.

Allana Pinkerton, a global safety advocate for Diono, a child seat manufacturer, said the car seat did its job because of the due diligence Buckmiller took before the accident.

“They read the instructions, they had the seat in tight,” said Pinkerton.

Buckmiller and her husband also took a free car seat safety course in California to make sure they had installed the car seat correctly.

“Car crashes are the number one cause of death and injury to children by far, so we want to make sure that you’re doing it right because you never know when you are going to be in a crash,” said Pinkerton.

“You can be the safest driver out there and you can say, ‘Oh, I am a good driver and my kid will be fine just buckled up or just hanging out,’” said Buckmiller. “But in our situation, there was nothing that I was doing that I could’ve changed.”

Buckmiller said the only thing she could control that night of the accident was making sure her son was buckled in his car seat correctly.

“That car seat really saved him.”

Diono is one of many manufacturers who provide a free car seat replacement program if you’ve been involved in an accident. They ask that you register your car seat and save the receipt; they’ll also ask for the police report and any photos of the accident. If possible, they will also ask you to turn the car seat into their company so engineers can inspect it to see how it performed in the crash.

“If you ever are in a car crash, make sure you get that police report and take as many pictures as possible so that we can really get the gist of what went on so our engineers understand how well this seat performs,” said Pinkerton.

Pinkerton suggested parents should get a second opinion on their car seat from a safety expert.

“We hire professionals to give our kids piano lessons and swimming lessons and soccer lessons. This is one of the most important things where you want to get your work checked by a certified passenger child safety technician,” she said.

The CDC offers helpful advice on making sure your car seat is installed properly and it’s the right fit for your child. You can find that link here: https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html

For a list of car seat safety experts in your county, you can find that link here:

http://www.800bucklup.org/carseat/inspections.asp