Children's Hospital Colorado

The Power of Car Seats: One Family's Story

Lourdes Herrera and her family, 4-year-old Brianna and 2-year-old Donovan, were headed home on a Saturday evening in early May. While traveling through an intersection where she had the green light, Lourdes was navigating the turn when another driver blew through the intersection. He hit her car on the passenger side, barely missing Donovan’s door. It was so sudden and so fast that all Lourdes remembers of the impact was gripping the steering wheel as the car spun around.  

As soon as the car stopped, she checked her children and could see only that her son’s face was bloody. The window next to him had shattered and cut his face. Witnesses to the accident saw the airbags had deployed and came to check on the family. A nurse from a nearby car quickly took care to stop the bleeding on Donovan’s face while they waited for an ambulance to arrive. 

Only minor cuts, bumps and bruises for the Herrera family

Four-year-old Brianna had also been correctly restrained in her car seat and suffered only a bump on her head. The outcome might have been much worse had the children not been in size- and age-appropriate safety seats. 

“I don’t even want to think about what could have happened to my babies if they hadn’t been in car seats,” Lourdes said. “Always buckle up yourself and your children because even if you’re driving safely, the other person might not be.” 

Experts in our Child Passenger Safety Program helped before and after the crash

Lourdes was initially referred to the Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Child Passenger Safety seat program by her kids' pediatrician. The clinic office scheduled her for an appointment with certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Maria Valenzuela. Maria impressed the importance of never buying used car seats from second-hand stores or yard sales and that they must be replaced if they are ever in an accident.  

After a late night at the emergency room, Lourdes called the clinic Sunday morning to leave a message that she needed to replace her children’s car seats. The Children’s Colorado team called her back Monday morning and by that afternoon, she was re-equipped with new chairs for Brianna and Donovan.  

“Now every time we get in the car, Brianna says, ‘Buckle me in. Buckle my brother in. You buckle in,’” Lourdes said.

Car seats prevent injuries and save lives

Properly installed car seats can prevent injuries and save lives of our most precious passengers. Children’s Colorado encourages all parents and caregivers to have their children's car seats checked for proper use, installation and recall histories.

Find a car seat inspection station near you.

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