When Rebecca Tafaro Boyer’s husband texted her a photo showing their nearly 3-month-old son asleep in his car seat, she noticed something was wrong.
“That chest clip isn’t high enough or nearly tight enough,” she replied, providing instructions on how he should adjust it. Boyer said that her husband never responded, but she assumed he did what he usually does when she’s “nagging” him.
“He was probably laughing at me,” she told The Washington Post on Friday. “Whenever I bring something like that up, he usually says, ‘Okay, honey,’ rolls his eyes and then does it anyway.”
But it may have been the key to keeping their son safe.
Minutes later, Boyer said, David Boyer and their son, William, were involved in a car accident. David Boyer broke his right foot in three places. William never even woke up, his mother said.
Rebecca Tafaro Boyer said she wrote about their experience last month on Facebook “because I was so relieved that he had fixed the car seat and that it had worked properly. It’s rare that you hear a story like this and it’s good news.”
The post has been shared more than 35,000 times.
Boyer, a nurse at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, said it was her first day back to work since their son was born, and she had asked her husband to send her regular updates — not because she didn’t trust him but because she was “upset” about leaving their baby, she said.
“So today, my first day back from maternity leave, I demanded that my husband send me hourly updates and recaps on how baby William was handling his first day away from mommy,” she wrote in the July 14 Facebook post.
So David Boyer sent an afternoon update, showing their infant asleep in his car seat and texting: “Little man is out. We are running errands today.”
His wife quickly responded.
“My nagging wife reply was to correct William’s position in the car seat — the straps were too loose and the chest clip was way too low,” she wrote on Facebook.
Rebecca Tafaro Boyer said it was exactly 15 minutes later when she received a panicked call from her husband. He and William were less than three miles from their home when a woman pulled in front of them, Boyer wrote, forcing her husband to slam on the brakes at “nearly 50 miles per hour.” The cars crashed into each other, but the Boyers’ son was unharmed.
“My precious little bundle of joy was so well restrained in his car seat, THAT HE DIDN’T EVEN WAKE UP,” she wrote.
Boyer said she rushed to the scene, and the first thing she asked was, “Did you fix the car seat?”
The answer, she said, was “yes.”
Boyer wrote on Facebook that she thinks “the reason my family is at home sitting on the couch with a pair of crutches instead of down at the hospital is because of my annoying nagging mom voice.”
Though she was “lamenting the loss of my beloved Volkswagen Jetta,” Boyer wrote, she was also grateful for a number of things, above all her husband who had “finally proven that yes indeed he is actually listening when I nag him!”
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for children up to 13 years old, but car seats have been shown to save lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2015, according to NHTSA, car seats saved nearly 250 children’s lives. But about 60 percent of the time, car seats are not used properly.
NHTSA offers information on which car seats and booster seats to buy and how to use them.
Boyer said she has a message for other parents: “Take that extra 30 seconds every single time” to ensure that children are strapped in correctly.
She added that her family’s story “goes to show that something can happen so quickly” and that checking the car seat “can save your child’s life.”