A mother who lost her son in a tragic accident 12 years ago is urging others to research the safety of car seats before choosing one for their child. In an emotional post on the Car Seat Consultants Facebook page, Christine Caleb shared the heartbreak she’s lived through after her son Kyle was killed in a booster seat.
“12 years ago today was the last time I saw this beautiful smile, kissed his sweet face or felt his little arms wrap around my neck,” Caleb, who has five other children, posted on May 29. “I had no idea that morning with him would be the last time I heard his adorable laugh and sweet voice call me ‘Mommy’ and see his eyes lit (SIC) up with life and wonder.”
In May 2005, Kyle was sitting in a booster seat and wearing a seat belt when a driver ran a red light and hit the family’s van. Kyle, then 3, was ejected from the fan and killed on impact.
“He was the sweetest, kindest, most gentle soul I’ve ever known,” Caleb posted in part. “There is not a day that passes that my heart does not ache with missing him and wondering what he would be like now. Losing Kyle was like being plunged straight into hell, a pain and agony beyond description.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 633 children ages 12 and younger died as occupants in a motor vehicle crash during 2015, and more than 121,350 were injured in 2014. A CDC study found that more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 months rode in vehicles without use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt at least some of the time.
“I think the hardest part of it all is knowing [how] easily preventable it was,” Caleb wrote. “That’s the dagger that twists in my heart. Had I just known about the dangers of booster seats for toddlers, had somebody warned me, I would have put him in a 5-point harness car seat…and that simple difference would have changed everything. It would have saved his life.”
Caleb urged parents to speak more about proper car seat usage and to ensure that they are installed correctly before being used.
“We try to portect our kids from everything from pesticides, GMOs, sharp furniture corners and cancer, but then buckle them into unsafe car seats. This needs to change,” she wrote. “Please, if you have young children or know someone with young children, research proper car seat usage and talk about it with everyone you know. I’ve lost friends and family members because they were offended that I pointed out their incorrect car seat usage. But to say nothing and have another child’s death on my conscious (sic) is not something I’m willing to risk.”
As of Monday, Caleb’s post had garnered more than 2,300 reactions and was shared nearly 5,000 times on Facebook.