Warning: Distressing content. A heartbroken aunt has shared a tragic update on her nephew’s death after he was killed in a car accident three weeks ago.
The little boy, who was 8 months, died after the car he was travelling in flipped. It wasn’t the impact of the crash that killed him. His death was due to suffocation from a car seat headrest add-on that slid out of place on impact.
‘The car seat did its job’
Annie Yankova shared what exactly happened on her Facebook page as a warning to other parents. In her post, she explains,
Three weeks ago today, I lost my beautiful nephew who was just 8 months old. They got into a car accident where the car flipped. They had literally popped round the corner to a shop which is like a two minute drive.
The car seat did its job. However this car seat add-on that’s pictured below is what suffocated and killed him as it slid down and out of place.”
Car seat headrest to blame for child’s death
The car seat add-on is called a car seat headrest or a NapUp. You can buy them on eBay among several other places and they are designed to keep a baby’s head in place if they fall asleep in the car.
However, car seat manufacturers and experts urge parents to avoid these types of car seat headrests because they may alter the performance of the restraint if in an accident. Infasecure, for example, shares this warning on their website.
We do not recommend third party or after-market pillows, supports or accessories to ‘prop’ the child’s head up, as these may alter the performance of the restraint in an accident and could pose a safety risk to the child and / or other passengers in the vehicle.
Products which specifically restrain the child’s head within the seat are excluded from the Australian Carseat Accessory Standard AS/NZS 8005:2013 under clause 3.2, as they are viewed to have serious potential for injury to the child in the event of an accident.”
Thousands of parents use these types of products, especially for long car journeys or if their children tend to fall asleep in the car.
‘I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel responsible’
Annie used one for her own daughter and admits that she was the one who purchased the car seat headrest for her nephew, something she will forever regret.
Annie urges other parents,
Please THROW THIS SH1T OUT! (DO NOT SELL IT). I got one for my daughter when she was just three weeks old, my cousin loved it and so when my nephew was born I got him his one too.
I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel responsible. I’ve got an 11-month old daughter myself and we’ve used this with her and to even think what might’ve happened makes me feel sick.”
Annie is now spreading awareness of the dangers of these products, begging other parents,
Please, please get rid [of them]. It’s not worth it. Anything that doesn’t come with the car seat shouldn’t be used! Things such as bibbs, hats, headbands and coats also shouldn’t be worn whilst in a car seat in the car.”
Our thoughts are with Annie and her extended family as they come to terms with this tragic loss.
What to read next
For more information on car seat safety, please see our previous articles on car seat safety:
- Car Seat Safety: What Parents Need to Know
- Car Seat Safety – Rules For Booster Seats
- The 3 Most Common and Potentially Fatal Mistakes Parents Make