January 12, 2016
Her family says a little girl who survived a multi-vehicle crash on the Glenn Highway Monday afternoon is alive for one reason — she was properly buckled into her car seat.
The impact of the crash severed the seat belt that was holding the car seat in place and ripped off most of the vehicle’s side panel. The car seat was ejected, but 19-month-old Abby Rowe remained safely buckled inside.
Her mom, Tiffany Rowe, said her daughter was bruised and her arm was broken in two places. Even so, she said, they feel lucky Abby is alive.
Tuesday night, Rowe and Abby were out of the hospital and headed back home to Palmer.
“We are all shaken up but we are trying to be strong for Abigail and make sure her life is as normal as it can be right now,” Rowe said in an email update. “She’s hurting and scared.”
Mandi Seethaller with the Alaska Injury Prevention Center said there’s no doubt the car seat saved Abby’s life.
“When you look at the fact that the child only has minor injuries, that car seat definitely saved that child’s life,” Seethaller said.
Seethaller said a properly installed car seat can reduce injuries in a crash and certainly save lives. But unfortunately, she said, most parents don’t get it right.
“In the State of Alaska the misuse rate is about 85 percent,” she said. “It could be something super minor, maybe the harness isn’t as high up as it should be, maybe the straps aren’t as tight as should be, but we want them to have that child secured properly for every ride.”
The Alaska Center For Injury Prevention provides free car seat safety checks for parents, as does the Anchorage Fire Department. Senior Capt. Clint Powell encourages parents to come by and ask a professional for help. He said every car seat is different and so is every car.
“We will walk you through it step by step,” Powell said. “They are much more complicated than you might think. Particularly when you are thinking about everything else about the newborn that is coming into your house. This is one thing you can take off your plate.”
Powell said parents can swing by a station but it’s much better to make an appointment. The number to call is 267- 5054.
The Alaska Injury Prevention Center also asks parents to make an appointment for a free check by calling 929-3939.