DALLAS -- Eight-month-old Keira Adkison is special.
That's the only way her father, Nick, can explain why she is alive today.
“She had five broken bones. One in the right arm here, one in the clavicle, and three in the leg,” said Nick Adkison in the Children’s House rehab center in Dallas where Keira continues to recover.
Keira has come a long way in the six weeks since a crash that killed everyone else inside the car, including her mom and grandparents.
It happened when their car slammed into an armored truck on the George Bush Turnpike in Grand Prairie.
Keira’s car seat saved her life.
“It offered the protection she needed from the impact to keep her from having further injuries,” said Nick Adkison.
A picture from DPS of the car seat in the moments after the crash shows that it was still intact. Authorities say the rear-facing Graco was in the safest part of the car -- the rear center seat.
But using a car seat correctly can be surprisingly difficult.
Nationally, eight out of every 10 car seats are installed incorrectly, according to Molly Grinstead, an injury prevention specialist with Children’s Health.
“Motor vehicle collisions are the number one leading cause of death for children,” she said.
Through a program with Children’s Health, Grinstead teaches parents how to make sure their car seat is the best fit for their child, and is installed just right.
The number one challenge, according to Grinstead, isn't necessarily how you put the seat in the car, but how you use the harnesses.
“There's something basic that you want to see on every harness. And it's that the chest clip is right at armpit level, and that it's so snug that if you try to pinch the strap on the side you can't get any slack, but not so tight that it hurts your child,” said Grinstead.
As for Keira, her father already has a new car seat waiting, for when she has healed enough to go home.
He knows she's here today because of the care her mother took to make sure she was safe. And he's not taking any chances.
Here is a list of helpful websites to learn more about making sure your child’s car seat is safe:
- For a free one-on-one car seat installation and safety check
- For information on the Children’s Medical Center Car Seat Safety Program
- For free events and car seat checks near you
This is part two of a two-part story on Keira's amazing story of survival. Click here to read part one, about Keira's father and her recovery from her injuries.