By Chris Jaffray
A mum has issued a warning after a £350 backwards car seat – which relatives told her was over the top – saved her tot’s life in a smash.
Cara Steele was on her way back home from work and had picked up son Albie, 18 months, from nursery in Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbs, when she was shunted into the car in front and ricocheted onto the pavement after a pick-up truck hit her from behind at 50mph last Monday [May 20].
Freed by the emergency services from the crumpled wreckage, the terrified mum was left thanking her lucky stars after paramedics revealed Albie would have died or faced severe spinal damage had his seat been forward facing – but instead he was left with barely a scratch.
Cara is now speaking out to warn parents of the importance of investing in the backwards-facing seats after pals and family told her she was worrying too much after she splashed £350 on the seat the previous years.
The teacher, 34, said: “There was a car turning right, there was about five cars waiting and I was the last car – we were all stationary.
“I looked in my rearview mirror and suddenly saw the pick-up truck driver’s face as he realised he wasn’t going to stop.
“It all just happened so fast.
“I was shunted forward and hit the car in front and ended up on the pavement – if someone had been walking past it probably would have killed them.
“When the police and paramedics inspected our car, they didn’t hold back in telling me it was a good thing I had spent £350 on the seat, because it had saved Albie’s life.
“He walked away just with a couple of cuts and bruises, but they said if Albie hadn’t have been rear facing they would have been looking at a very different scenario.
“If he had been facing forward in the car it is likely he would have had severe injury to his spine or he would be dead.”
Cara, from nearby High Peak, got the Axkid Minikid last August.
She said while some reports suggest it is safe to use a forward facing seat once a baby weighs at least nine kilograms, this is not true.
Her £8,000 Vauxhall Astra had been written off and she was unlikely to get this back from her insurers.
The married mum-of-one, who was left with only minor bruising in the crash, added: “A lot of people thought I was going over the top when I bought the seat, but I wanted to share this as it’s such an important message.
“If this makes one person consider extended rear facing, or turning their child back to rear facing then my story has helped somebody.
“Albie is only 18 months old, but he will rear face until he’s 25kg.
“There’s so much information out there about the benefits of rear facing, I only ask that people educate themselves with it.”