Meredith Lemerand had a hard time telling Jaxon's story at first. Her precious 14-month-old had died in 2015 in a tragic car seat mishap. Now she is hoping her message spreads to all parents of young children.
"I don't want any other family to walk that walk, ever," said Jaxon's grandmother Carolyn Cogbill.
The family tells WFAA that Jaxon was with a caregiver when the top belt of the car seat strangled the baby while he napped.
A flood of memories returned to the family following another tragic death involving a child seat in Fort Worth. Baby John Norris was a nine-month- old who fell asleep in the car seat. The bottom belt was not connected, forcing these children to slide down the seat and be strangled by the top belt.
"It's a decision that is made innocently. People don't know, and if they don't know, they can't avoid that situation," said Cogbill.
Life after the baby's death is not so easy, especially for Meredith. She tells WFAA that the pain is daily.
"You're constantly trying to rebuild your life into being the semblance of the same person,mand you never will be," Lemerand said.
The family has found comfort in a cause. The family started a tradition called Jaxon Ray Safety Days. It was essentially a "block party" that connected neighborhood families with firemen to learn about child seat safety.
The family hopes people will educate themselves on proper handling of child seats. Cogbill is hoping to work with Texas' licensing department as it pertains to caregivers. Cogbill says it should be an absolute necessity for caregivers to know the dangers of car seats.
Lemerand says she has also explored the concept of making tags for car seats. Her hope is there is specific language on those tags about the risks of the car seat.
"I can't change what happened to us. But if I can prevent one child out there from being left in this circumstance innocently, that's what my goal is now," said Cogbill.
Ultimately, Meredith Lemerand wants families to know that this can happen to anyone. She is happy to talk with the Norris family about the pain they are currently going through. She tells WFAA that she wants to help any family, including the Norris', through their pain.
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