Her Baby Might Still Be Alive, If Someone Had Said the Car Seat Wasn’t Installed Correctly

Her Baby Might Still Be Alive, If Someone Had Said the Car Seat Wasn’t Installed Correctly

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Arguably the most important job of parents is to protect their children from danger.

And like any other parent, Holly Wagner did her best to ensure her children’s safety. But then on April 27, 2013, the mother of two from Louisiana received a horrifying call while she was at work.

Holly’s boyfriend was driving her two sons to the park, and both three-year-old Connor and 11-month-old Cameron were safely buckled into their backseat car seats—or so she believed.

Holly’s boyfriend ran a stop sign and smashed into another car. He and the two boys were injured and taken to the hospital. Holly’s boyfriend and her son Connor sustained serious, but not life-threatening injuries, while Cameron was left in critical condition.

Doctors soon told Holly that Cameron wasn’t going to make it, and the heartbroken mother was faced with the heartbreaking choice of whether to keep him on life support or not.

Either way, Cameron wasn’t going to survive, but he would be spared some suffering if doctors shut down the machines.

Holly didn’t want to see her son suffer, and on May 13, 2013, Cameron died in his mother’s arms.

The police report stated that Cameron’s death occurred because he wasn’t properly buckled. His crotch buckle was unfastened and his chest buckle broke on impact. Cameron was also sitting facing forward, so when the buckle broke, he was ejected from the car.

At only 11 months old, Cameron should have been sitting in a rear-facing car seat, but Holly had no idea about this.

“Parents and caregivers need to have the right seat for their child’s age and size and they need to install it correctly according to manufacturer instructions. Many websites offer resources and guidelines on car seat installation, such as BuckleUpforLife.org and safercar.gov. Many sites also can help you locate a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) in your community, who can help ensure your seat is installed correctly,” Gloria Del Castillo, national program manager for Buckle Up for Life, told the Huffington Post.


Two weeks before the accident, Holly took a picture of Cameron sleeping in his car seat while facing forward. At the time, Holly didn’t know that her son’s car seat should have been facing backward.

If someone had noticed and told her, he might still be alive today.

Now, Holly is warning other parents about the dangers of not properly buckling your young children. She writes about car seat safety on her Facebook page.

Now, I know it can be uncomfortable to tell another parent that they are doing something wrong. We’ve all been on the receiving side of unsolicited parenting advice before and it’s not fun. Which is why, I would never say something unless it is something that can be life threatening, like improperly installing or buckling car seats. I could never sit back and watch as a beloved family member or friend installed a car seat improperly.

Strangers are harder to talk to sometimes, but I still say something if I see it. Not everyone has a strong support network or social circle to help them. You might be the only one who has said something to them. Yes, sometimes parents can be resistant and not want to hear it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say something. Maybe they’ll ignore your warning, but listen to the next person who says something as that would be multiple people who said something.

Also, when you’re leaving your child with a grandparent or baby sitter who will be driving them somewhere, verbally explain to them how the carseat works and how to properly buckle your child in the seat. Sure, grandma may have kept you alive, but carseats and carseat guidelines have changed quite a bit in the past few years and she could probably use a reminder.

No child should die because of a preventable mistake. Please spread the knowledge so we can make sure that all children are properly buckled!

Watch Cameron’s full story via this video:

Would you say something if you saw someone buckling their baby in wrong? Let us know in the comments below.

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