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Mom's Gut-Wrenching Photo Proves You Should Never Relax Car Seat Rules

Photograph by Twenty20

One Pennsylvania mom's viral Facebook photo packs a huge punch about car safety. Jenna Casado Rabberman and her two boys, a 3-year-old and a 6-week-old, stopped for milk on the way home from preschool on Monday. They were minutes from home when someone sped through a red light and slammed right into their car.

The photo shows the wreckage, with her 2015 Honda CRV totaled. But both boys and their rear-facing car seats, a Chicco Keyfit 30 (infant seat) and Graco Children's Products 4ever, survived. It's a chilling PSA to parents to never, ever relax car seat safety rules, even when the kids are screaming and kicking.

Photograph by Jenna Casado Rabberman

"THIS is why you buckle your kids into their car seats correctly every SINGLE time. Even when they scream because the straps are tight. Even when they complain about the chest clip or being rear facing," Rabberman wrote.

The mom and both kids are fine, and the car seats will be replaced. But Rabberman stresses the point that all it takes is two more minutes to save your kids' lives. Everything else can be replaced, but not your life or the lives of your children.

"You never think it will happen to you. My boys escaped without a scratch but the paramedics told me it could have been very different had I not taken the extra two minutes to be sure they were buckled correctly," she wrote.

The post clearly hit home with parents and has currently been shared more than 200,000 times with more than 100,000 reactions.

If you need a refresher course on car safety, read up on the new guidelines and installation tips by the American Academy of Pediatrics for kids of all ages. Some key points:

Infants and toddlers should only be in rear-facing or rear-facing convertible car seats until they're at least 2 years old or reach the threshold for weight or height recommended by the car seat manufacturer, whichever comes first.

For rear-facing seats, keep the harness snug. Test the harness straps over your baby's shoulders by making sure you can't pinch any slack between your fingers. Make sure the harness chest clip is placed at the center of the chest, even with your child's armpits.

Never place a rear-facing seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an active front passenger airbag. The airbag will hit the back of the car seat when inflated, and the impact on your baby's head could lead to serious injury or death.

Toddlers and preschoolers should use convertible car seats or forward-facing seats with a harness until they reach weight or height limits before moving into a best-positioning booster seat.

Car seats may be installed with either the vehicle's seat belt or LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system.

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