Then Came the Crash

Car seats like this one save lives

One of the best parts of my job at Safe Kids is working with families who generously share their stories to inspire other parents to get involved. The following story is one of my favorites because it really shows what our work is all about – the little things you can do that can make a big difference.

Every day, I continue to be grateful that we are all alive and were able to walk away from a crash that could have been tragic.

On August 19, I was on my way to a party with my two sons, Imraan and Amir.

Imraan is six. He’s extremely happy, open and trusting. He loves sports, just like your typical six-year-old boy. My other son is Amir. He’s the jokester of the family. He’s two years old but just try to tell him that. They both love to build things so I think I might have a couple of engineers on my hands.

It was an action-packed day – like most days. We went to prayer that morning, then to the toy store, then lunch. We were off to our special Eid celebration to celebrate the end of Ramadon.  

We were waiting to make a left turn only one block away from the party. That’s when I heard the sound of screeching tires break the silence, like nails on a chalk board. I looked in my review mirror and saw a car speeding up behind us.

In that moment, time stopped. It was one of those moments where you feel like it lasts forever, but it’s only a few seconds. 

And in that moment, I didn't see my life flash before my eyes like most people would think. I did not panic, or scream. There was nowhere to go.

What I did remember in that brief moment was how the technician at the Safe Kids Child Safety Seat Inspection on Georgia Avenue in Washington, D.C. had taken such care to install my sons' seats.

It had only been two weeks since we were there. I had been to the Safe Kids car seat inspection when Imraan was first born and I remember thinking how great it was. So when I got new car seats for the boys I headed back so someone could show me how to install the seats properly.

The technician was so helpful. I remembered how he put his knee into Amir’s new car seat and tightened the seat belt until it wouldn't budge. I remembered how he carefully demonstrated how to engage the seat belt lock so that Imraan would be safe in his booster seat. 

I know it seems strange but those are the moments I recalled as I looked in the rear view mirror and said, "Oh God, hold on boys." 

Then came the crash.

Every day, I continue to be grateful that we are all alive and were able to walk away from a crash that could have been tragic. But I can’t say that would have happened if those seats weren’t installed properly.

As parents, we take extra care when we purchase car seats; we check safety ratings, user reviews, and prices. But we don’t always take the same level of care to ensure the seat is installed correctly and used properly.

It breaks my heart when I hear of children who die in car crashes. I can’t imagine if something had happened to Imraan or Amir. And then to know that it could have been avoided… I don’t want any parent to have to go through that.

So let’s make sure it doesn’t. Instead, let’s make sure more families have the opportunity to walk away from the scene of a crash. We can do it.

Give your car seat a checkup. Take 15 minutes to see if it’s in correctly, and then go visit the trained technicians at a Safe Kids event in your area

And if you have the time, you can become a certified car seat technician yourself.  The more technicians there are, the more children can be saved. And you can help parents like me enjoy more time with their children.

I can tell you personally, you won’t regret it.