Friday, March 12, 2010

Car Seats Make the Difference Between Safe and Sorry

Radian XT Car Seats do their job in mother’s collision with dump truck.

What started out as a festive drive to a holiday gathering suddenly turned horrific for Leah Bechtol of and her two young children.

It was snowing lightly the afternoon of December 28th, 2009, when Leah set out from their home in Ashland, Ohio, in her new mini-van to exchange Christmas gifts with a friend approximately 23 miles away in Tiffin. She was driving cautiously on State Route 603 with her son, Wyatt, 4 years, and daughter, Mira, 2-1/2 years, each strapped into their RadianXT car seats, facing forward in the back seat.

They had just completed the lower portion of an S-curve and were on a short straight stretch when Leah noticed a large truck approaching them in the oncoming lane. The fully loaded, 70,000 pound dump truck had crossed the centerline and was veering toward the van. Leah reacted instantly to evade a collision by steering the van toward to the right shoulder, but it was too late.

The dump truck struck the front corner and driver’s side door and continued along the length of the vehicle, pushing the van off the road into a ditch, and tearing off most of the left side of the van. The vehicle was so mangled that EMT crews had to use the Jaws of Life to free Leah, Wyatt and Mira. All were taken immediately to nearby MedCentral Hospital.

The children remained in their car seats until they had been examined by the ER doctor. Leah suffered several broken bones on the left side of her body, air bag bruising and the loss of a tooth. She went into emergency surgery that evening and has been in a cast and a wheelchair since being released from the hospital.

The children each had slight bruising from their car seat straps and tiny cuts from the window glass, but were otherwise unharmed.

Following the crash, Sunshine Kids, the manufacturer of the children’s RadianXT car seats, performed a thorough evaluation of both seats. Sunshine Kids’ Director of Engineering, David Clement, said that the seats came through the accident with “no significant damage to the seats or the key structural components.”

Brad Keller, President of Sunshine Kids said, “This was a frightening experience for Leah and her children, and we share the family’s relief that Wyatt and Mira had no serious injuries. This kind of positive outcome validates the way we design and test our products. When it comes to protecting children in these kinds of accidents, you simply cannot compromise on engineering or quality.”

Leah is recovering from her injures and expects to be out of her cast and wheelchair by the end of March. She expressed her appreciation to Sunshine Kids in a recent letter to the company:

“Despite the severity of the crash and of my injuries,” Leah wrote, “we are so very grateful and relieved that our children were unharmed. We know that your excellent product (RadianXT) was a major factor in their safety and we want to thank you for making these high quality car seats.”

Even though the Bechtol’s car seats were structurally sound after the accident, Sunshine Kids’ provided the family with two new RadianXT car seats through the company’s Crashed Restraint Exchange Program. For more information about this program, go to

About Sunshine Kids Juvenile Products
Sunshine Kids manufactures, markets and sells travel solutions for the children of today’s families. With innovative product designs and unparalleled safety testing, Sunshine Kids conveniently secures and protects children through every stage of your journey. With more than a decade of experience, Sunshine Kids is recognized by consumer and trade organizations for its unique functionality and thoughtful design in 48 countries worldwide, while maintaining offices in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. For more information on the renowned Radian and Monterey car seats and travel accessory line, visit

For More Information Contact: Kathy Laux, Marketing Director 253-859-5700, ext 122,
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