In March of 2017, Sarah Beck and her two children were driving from Baja, Mexico, to California to meet her husband to begin a family vacation. Highway 1 is a beautiful and adventurous drive, but can be challenging for those not experienced on its narrow roads, high ravines, pot holes and other “obstacles.” Sarah is an experienced Highway 1 driver, having traveled it for 25 years. “I had my first driving lessons on it and have driven the highway too many times to count,” she said.
After refueling in Jesus Maria, Sarah and her kids continued on their drive towards San Quintin, the next stop on their journey. After passing a big rig and hitting a straight stretch with no other cars in sight, what happened next took Sarah by complete surprise.
“I can’t quite grasp what happened next. One minute everything was great and the next, I was crashing. I am fairly certain the front passenger tire went flat. Everything happened so quickly. With the tire flat, the truck veered off the highway to the right, I panicked and turned the steering wheel to get the truck back on the road. It was then that I realized that I had lost control of the truck. We were spinning in the middle of the highway. As we came around I thought that maybe I could straighten out, but we were going too fast. The truck went flying off the road and as we flew through the air and then hit the dirt, I thought maybe it would be okay, but when we hit the dirt the truck began to roll. We were crashing and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. It rolled four times. It probably all happened in under a minute, but those four rolls were the longest, most violent thing I have experienced.”
“Thankfully the truck landed on the tires. We weren’t suspended upside down or anything. There was dirt and glass everywhere. I could hear my son crying, but my daughter wasn’t making a sound. I didn’t think, I slammed by body against the door until it opened and rushed to the other side of the car, where my daughter was strapped into her car seat. As I rushed to her, I flagged down the semi-truck that I had passed earlier. He stopped and came running. My daughter was moaning now and my son was asking me what happened. I will never be able to erase the look of terror in his eyes as I watched tears run down his dirty cheeks.”
“’We crashed baby, we crashed. I am sorry. I don’t know if Layla is okay. Are you hurt? Are you bleeding?’ I said to him as I willed my daughter to open her eyes. He promised me that nothing was hurt on his body as I searched her body. There was a goose egg above her head, I didn’t see anything else, but I couldn’t figure out where the blood was coming from. As I removed her from her car seat, I questioned if it was the safest thing to do, but I did it anyway. The trucker asked me in Spanish what he could do and I made a prayer of thanks that I speak Spanish. I told him to remove my son from his seat and sat down in the dirt with my daughter and cooed in her ear that everything would be okay. The trucker deposited my son in my lap and I inspected every inch of them. Aside from the goose egg and a cut on my daughter’s finger, they were okay. There was barely a scratch on them. It’s a testament for how good Diono car seats are. I am crying as I write this sentence, those car seats saved my kid’s lives.”
For over an hour Sarah waited for an ambulance to arrive at the scene, while good Samaritans offered what help they could give. It was another hour’s ride in an ambulance to the nearest hospital in Guerrero Negro and along the way firefighters assured her that all three were okay. Once at the hospital, nurses and doctors looked over everyone, gave Sarah some stitches in her head and told her to see a specialist about her injured right wrist. X-rays later revealed it had been broken in three places.
Sarah said “I don’t know how or why we survived the insanely violent experience of flying off the road, rolling and crashing our truck in the middle of Baja…what I do know, is that I look at my kids in utter amazement and am so very grateful for those Diono Radian RXT seats and how strong our truck was.”
You can read Sarah’s entire, amazing story on her blog, This Gypsy Path.
All photos courtesy Sarah Beck.
Kellie Cleland of Warren, OH, was recently involved in a crash in which her car was struck by another driver. Her two-year-old twins were riding with in their radian rXTs while her older child was in a booster.
In a post on Facebook, Kellie stated “It’s time for my PSA of the day. Let’s talk car seat safety. Radian rXT seats cost an arm and a leg… but we spent it because 1) they are narrow enough to fit three across and 2) they were rated as a best bet from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). The two 2-year-olds wearing light winter coats were in these during our recent accident and had NO injuries. None. They didn’t budge. Meanwhile, my big kid was in a backless booster correct for her size…. 66lb, 50″…. well above the requirements for a backless booster. Let’s talk about her seat…. it was found next to her and she was laying on her side after being moved forward so hard that she broke her clavicle. Needless to say, I am purchasing her a high back booster that will hold her belt in the correct position. Because had she been in one, she may not have been as injured. So for those of you in the market for a car seat that will grow with your child (up to 120 lb), spend the money. Save a life. I will recommend these seats until the day I die. Especially for those of you with more than two kids… or tiny baby twins. Just bite the bullet and spend the money on a Diono radian rXT. I promise it will be the safest decision you could ever make for your kids.”
On February 21st, Tiffany Vincent was on her way to pick up her daughter from preschool with her son riding rear-facing in his diono rainier. About a block away, Tiffany noticed a driver ahead of her traveling in the opposite direction had started to cross into her lane. Before she could react she collided with the other car.
“I remember the impact and immediately turning around to try to get to my son because he was screaming. A gentleman was trying to get his car seat out. I had the top tether attached and they were struggling to get it unhooked. I saw the man remove him from the seat and another gentleman helped me climb across the passenger side because my door was jammed shut,” Tiffany said. “They ended up cutting the top tether to remove my son’s rainier from the car. They had sat me on the ground and placed him in my lap. I had a broken arm and leg and was severely confused. Once they had the seat out they came over and placed him back into it. Once the ambulance arrived, I was placed on a stretcher and put in and my son was kept in his car seat to the hospital. I am fuzzy on this period as shock had set in but I remember knowing he was OK because he was talking with the EMTs and they kept telling me he’s in perfect condition. Once we arrived at the hospital they took us into the same room. He was given a full exam and discharged in under an hour because he had no visible injuries.”
Tiffany underwent multiple x-rays and it was determined that her left leg, right arm and nose had been broken in the crash. She remained at the hospital for another four hours and was discharged. She says her son has some bruising on his leg from the 5-point harness but is otherwise in good health. “I’m still in a slow recovery but beyond grateful that the injuries are mine and not my son’s,” she said.
You can read more about Tiffany’s story on The Winchester Star’s website.
In February 2017, Andrea, who lives in mid-western Illinois, was on her way to work after an ice storm when her car skidded out of control and rolled 1 1/2 times. Her daughter, riding in a diono rainier, was uninjured. Andrea said “No parent should ever have to turn and look in the backseat to see if their child is still alive, but if you ever do I hope you see what I saw. My child perfectly snug in her carseat, she did not move an inch, her carseat did not move an inch, everything around her was broken, but she was perfect. She did not have a single scratch on her.”
This story was first published on the Kirkland Patch’s website. The full story can be found here.
On January 21st 2017, around 6 p.m., Genevieve Buckmiller, 38, was driving home after having dinner with her brother. The car radio was off because her 4-year-old son was sleeping in the backseat. She was focusing on the highway and thinking about how she’d have to carry her son from the car to bed once she got home. There was just one more exit to go before home.
Then out of nowhere, Buckmiller felt something hit her car hard. Her Subaru Outback veered out of control, first spinning, then rolling. When it stopped, she was upside-down and yelling for her son.
“He just said, ‘I’m upside down, I don’t want to fall, I’m scared,’ but I couldn’t see him,” she recalled, although the memory of the accident is till blurry.
According to Washington State Patrol, a driver had swerved into Buckmiller’s lane, hitting her car, causing it to go out of control.
Up to 10 people stopped to help and she said that she owes it to those Samaritans — and her Subaru, and especially her Diono Radian RXT car seat with its five-point harness — for preventing a terrifying accident from becoming a tragic one.
Her son was virtually uninjured, although Buckmiller was taken to a local hospital for a few injuries — a sprained ankle and wrist, cuts and a bruise on her face.
In 2016, Molly Rusk and her family were involved in a terrible crash. She had family in from out of town and as part of their usual tradition they went to Polly’s Freeze in Georgetown, Indiana with the intention of visiting their grandparents at the cemetery afterward. With them in their 2007 Honda CRV was Molly’s daughter, Vivienne (who had just turned two), her Aunt Ann, Aunt Rita, and their friend Rosie. Molly was the driver of the vehicle with Ann in the front passenger seat. Sitting in rear seat was Aunt Rita on the passenger side, Vivienne rear facing in her Diono car seat in the center seat, and Rosie behind Molly on the driver’s side of the vehicle. All of the adults were wearing their seat belts.
Molly says, “We all enjoyed Polly’s Freeze. At the end of our lunch it started to rain so we made our way back to the car. We start heading toward Lanesville on State Hwy 62. I remember enjoying the rural countryside and the nostalgia of our childhood. I was going about 40 mph. Then I notice the speed limit is 55 mph so I start to pick up speed. There is a bend in the road and my eyes are always focused on what is around the corner when I see a bend in the road. Along comes a dump truck and as soon as he is in my field of vision his tires are already on my side of the road. In my head I’m thinking what will happen next and I really thought this guy was going to over correct and end up in the ditch. What comes after that is foggy… You can imagine, I was in shock. I think that I jerked the wheel to the left in an attempt to avoid him.”
Moments later the tri-axle dump truck hydroplaned directly into their vehicle and many of the adults received serious injuries. However, little Vivienne who was rear-facing in her car seat was completely unharmed without even a scratch on her. According to Molly, the EMS at the scene commented on how Vivienne was perfectly restrained.
Today, Molly is exceptionally thankful that her daughter is safe and that she chose to keep her rear-facing as long as possible. She wants to share her story to help raise awareness about car seat safety. She credits the fact that her daughter was uninjured because her car seat was properly installed, properly used and that she was still rear-facing. Molly strongly encourages parents to keep their children rear-facing as long as possible.
Leila Hage Garcia
For her son’s first birthday, Leila Hage Garcia bought him a very important present: A new car seat since he had outgrown his infant seat. She bought two, one for each of the family cars. “I spent a great deal of time researching which car seat I should buy before settling on the diono radian rXT” said Leila. “People gave me a hard time saying that I wasted a lot of my savings on something that wasn’t necessary; however I stood by my choice.”
In May of 2015, she was justified in her choice. Leila and her husband were driving on the interstate when one of their tires had a blowout and they lost control of their Ford Explorer. The Explorer rolled three times before coming to rest on the shoulder of the freeway. Leila’s first concern was her son in the back seat. She climbed out her window and into the back seat to find her rear-facing diono seat still securely strapped in, but empty. “Where’s my baby?!” she screamed and a Good Samaritan standing behind her handed him to her. “He had stayed strapped in and safe, in fact my husband said when he got to the car seat, Bobby had laughed as my husband unstrapped him.”
Said Leila, “It was a tragedy, but had I bought a regular plastic car seat it could have been much worse. The roof of the Explorer came in on us and I’m grateful that Bobby had his diono car seat to protect him. My most precious piece of cargo was checked out by an ambulance and again at urgent care and given a clean bill of health. I want to thank diono 1,000 times for making a car seat that withstood the torture of a rollover crash and protected my precious son. I’m very grateful for it!”
Mom is lucky to be alive, and she has her five year-old daughter to thank for it.
In June of 2015, Angela Shymanski was driving home to Prince George, B.C., from Calgary with a lullaby playing on the CD player to soothe her two kids Lexi and Peter, who were strapped in to their car seats in the back seat.
The soft music caused Angela to nod off while behind the wheel, and her SUV veered down a 40-foot embankment and crashed into a tree. She was knocked unconscious.
Her daughter Lexi woke up strapped into her diono car seat to the sound of her baby brother crying.
She unclipped the harness on her car seat, which was lodged against the seat in front of her, opened the damaged car’s passenger door and made her way up the rugged terrain without any shoes on.
Then the brave girl flagged down a passing car and told the driver what happened.
The motorist rescued baby Peter and went back to the road to ask another driver, who ended up being a paramedic, for help with the children’s unconscious mother.
When Angela came to, she was staring at a stranger who told her what her daughter had done, and that her kids were safe.
“I just couldn’t even believe what she had done.”
“He said, ‘Your little girl, she hiked up this embankment and flagged us down,'” Angela said. “And he said, ‘Don’t worry, they’re both up at the top, at the highway and they’re fine.’ ”