Tanya Bender, a grandmother, issued an urgent warning on Facebook regarding turning a child’s car seat forward-facing too soon. Aniyah, her granddaughter, was in a vehicle accident when she was two years old and was “internally beheaded at her C1,” leaving her “partially paraplegic” at four.
“The minimum age to forward-face in most states is two years old,” Bender wrote in the Facebook group Keeping Littles Safe In Carseats. “Aniyah was two years old when she was rear-ended in a car accident. Her seat was installed correctly in the car seat in accordance with the car seat standards and current law.”
“If she had been rear-facing, she would not have received any harm at all,” Bender continued.
Bender shared further details about the horrible vehicle accident that left her granddaughter with severe life-altering injuries with Love What Matters to warn other parents of this possibly fatal circumstance.
She remembered, “Aniyah turned two on February 28th, and the accident happened on May 22nd.” “She was looking forward to her mom picking her up for the day, so we strapped her in and put the car seat in forward-facing mode.” They left the house and were involved in an automobile accident about 5 miles down the road, in which the car collided with a brick pillar holding up business signs and flipped upside down.
Aniyah was entirely decapitated at her C1 as a result of the impact. She sustained multiple breaks between C1 and C7, as well as a complete tear of her arm-controlling nerve root at C5.
After 12 hours at the local hospital, she was airlifted to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Her entire neck was fused, and a halo was placed on her during an eight-hour procedure.
We stayed at the hospital for the next two weeks. We had to teach her how to sit up, walk, and use her hand and lower arm properly again when we got home.
In May of this year, she will have been able to use the lower part of her arm after two years of occupational therapy, but she will never be able to use it entirely. She will never be able to jump on trampolines, ride horses, cheer, participate in sports that involve physical exertion, or even tumble due to her complete neck fusion. Re-injury to her neck is far too dangerous. According to her specialists at Doernbecher’s, Aniyah’s fusion is scarce to survive.
Bender thinks she could “go on” with her life, but she is driven by a desire to “spare others from this catastrophe.”
“I want people to understand that, while certain states’ rules allow you to forward-face your child at 23 pounds or two years old, the ideal thing to do is to rear-face until your child is at least 40 pounds, if possible.” If Aniyah had been rear-facing at the time of the accident, she would have suffered no injuries. She is thriving now as she learns to function effectively with her impairments.”
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