Child Safety: How a Car Seat Saved an Infant's Life

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Child Safety: How a Car Seat Saved an Infant's Life


Guest: Blair Harris – Mother of Infant

Host: Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry

Dr. Linda Austin: I am Dr. Linda Austin. I’m talking with Blair Harris. Blair, you have an amazing story to tell about how an infant car seat saved your baby’s life. What happened that day?

Blair Harris: Well, it was a Monday evening at about 5:00 p.m. and we were coming home from the grocery store. I was just going through an intersection when were T-boned by a car that ran a red light, didn’t even see it coming.

Dr. Linda Austin: Now, where was your baby at that time?

Blair Harris: My baby was on the back right passenger side of the car. He hit us right between the front passenger door and the rear passenger door, missed her by about an eighth of an inch, I would say. But she was buckled into her car seat and I know without a doubt that it saved her life.

Dr. Linda Austin: I have seen the photos and the photos are unbelievable. It’s a miracle that anybody came out of that alive.

Blair Harris: It’s a miracle.

Dr. Linda Austin: Now, was your baby injured at all?

Blair Harris: She was injured. She knocked out a tooth and she actually bit a hole through her tongue. We were rushed to MUSC. She had a concussion as well. You know, after they looked at her in the emergency room, they admitted her to the hospital and we were told the next morning that they thought she had a minor brain bleed, which was, if you can imagine, pretty terrifying for us. We just, you know, prayed all day long and sat with her and we came back, the neurosurgeon came back that night and told us that, miraculously, they’d made a mistake and it was actually just a blood vessel running through the center of the CAT scan. But she had to wear a neck brace for two days and had to stay in the hospital and it was just pretty traumatic for her and for us. But, ultimately, all that happened was that she knocked out a tooth and hurt her tongue.

Dr. Linda Austin: Now, you had gone to great pains to get a good car seat.

Blair Harris: We did.

Dr. Linda Austin: And to install it correctly. Was that difficult?

Blair Harris: It was really difficult. I mean, we went on Consumer Reports and we looked and looked and looked to find out what was the safest seat and we did buy that seat. I think that all car seats are probably pretty safe. The hard part though is installing that. I mean, I think I’m pretty good at doing things like that and it took me like 30 minutes to install it and I had to go back and forth through the owner’s manual of my car to the owner’s manual of the car seat and it’s really hard. So, you know, I mean, I just hope that people won’t give up when they’re trying to install the seat correctly because I know it saved my child’s life.

Dr. Linda Austin: It’s probably easy to install any old way but to do it correctly, so it really saves your child’s life, may not be as straight forward as one might wish it were.

Blair Harris: Right, right. It’s pretty complicated.

Dr. Linda Austin: So, what’s the take home message that you want to get out there?

Blair Harris: Well, first of all, put your child in a car seat that you’ve installed properly. It might seem like it’s a pain and you might think, this isn’t going to matter that much but it does.

Dr. Linda Austin: You have a healthy little girl to show for it too.

Blair Harris: I do, without a front tooth.

Dr. Linda Austin: How far of a trip were you going on?

Blair Harris: We weren’t even a mile from our house. This was almost at the entrance to our neighborhood. Sometimes people say, oh, you know, it doesn’t matter, we’re just going around the block so we don’t need to use the car seat. But it matters. This was right down the street from my house.

Dr. Linda Austin: Statistically, that’s where most accidents happen, is closest to home.

Blair Harris: Yes, I’ve learned that, since the accident.

Dr. Linda Austin: Thank you, Blair.

Blair Harris: Thank you.

If you have any questions about the services or programs offered at the Medical University of South Carolina or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, please call MUSC Health Connection: (843) 792-1414.

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