About 25 miles from our final destination, we hit some of the stop and go traffic that is so common on Southern California freeways.
I came to a stop and heard a loud crash and the shattering of glass. Just as I registered that the sound meant we had been rear-ended, I heard another crash and felt myself being thrown against the seat belt. The rear-end collision had pushed us into the car in front of us.
I sat frozen for a minute and then C's cries sprung me into action. I started to voice reassurance as I climbed into the back seat. Glass was everywhere. How much had hit C? I instantly wondered.
I couldn't see the answer immediately. The seat had been thrown toward the back seat, forming a clam shell around her. I tilted it back quickly and began assessing C for injuries. There was a tiny amount of blood on her wrist from a slight scratch.
No other cuts or abrasions. No broken bones.
Granted, this was a fairly low-speed collision. The airbag did not deploy. But I am so thankful that we had C rear-facing. (By the way, I'm fine as well.)
The NHTSA recommends that car seats be replaced after moderate and severe collisions, but not necessarily after a minor collision.
They define a minor collision as one which meets all the following criteria:
- The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
- The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
- There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
- The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
- There is no visible damage to the safety seat