Mum’s warning after car seat leaves toddler internally decapitated

Allison Yee

It was the decision one mum thought she was making for all the right reasons, but instead Tanya Bender was left devastated after a car accident – during which her toddler was sitting in a forward-facing car seat – left her two-year-old ‘internally decapitated’.

In a heartbreaking story that has been shared so other parents don’t make the same mistake, the Oregon-based mum Tanya posted a warning on Facebook earlier this month.

"I want to share what happens if you go by just minimum requirements. In most States the minimum requirement to forward face is 2 years old,” Tanya wrote.

Tanya shared her devastating post to ensure other parents were aware of the risks. Photo: Facebook/

“Aniyah was 2 years old when she was in a car accident forward facing. Her seat was correctly installed in the car seat according to the car seat requirements and the law now.

“If she had been rear facing she would have not suffered any injury at all.”

Internal decapitation is an “injury characterised by complete disruption of all the ligaments between the occiput and C1,” and has a high fatality rate, according to ScienceDirect.

Aniyah was just two years old when she was in the car accident. Photo: Facebook/Tanya Bender

While the Facebook post goes on to reveal that Aniyah is now four and ‘doing great’, her injury – which has left her partially paralysed – has completely changed her life.

“She will never be able to do sports or tumbling, riding horses or cheerleading even,” wrote Tanya.

Tanya believes if her daughter had been rear-facing, she wouldn't have suffered her injuries. Photo: Facebook/Tanya Bender

According to Baby Center, there are different laws in each Australian State and Territory when it comes to car seats, however from six months to four-years-old, the child must be in either a forward or rear facing seat.

Aniyah is lucky to be alive, with one study claiming only 31 percent of children with this injury survive. Photo: Facebook/Tanya Bender

“It is the law that your baby must stay rearward-facing until she is six months old,” the website explains.

“However, many experts now recommend that it is safest for you to keep your baby rearward-facing as long as possible.”

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