Mum’s warning after car seat leaves toddler internally decapitated.

Tanya Bender was left devastated after a car accident left her two-year-old grand daughter ‘internally decapitated’ two years ago.

In a heartbreaking story that has been shared so other parents don’t make the same mistake, the Oregon-based grandmother 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.

“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.”

tanya bender

Tanya shared further details with told Love What Matters about the horrific car accident that left her granddaughter with these lifelong injuries in hopes of alerting other parents to this potentially deadly situation.

“She was waiting happily for her mum to pick her up for the day, and we put the car seat in the car forward-facing and strapped her in. They left the house and about 5 miles down the road, they got into a car accident that resulted in the car hitting a brick pillar that held up signs for a business, and the car flipped upside down.”

“Aniyah was internally decapitated at her C1 completely. She had several breaks between C1 and C7 and also suffered a complete tear at her C5 of her nerve root that controls her arm.

“We spent the next two weeks there at the hospital. When we arrived at home, we had to teach her how to sit up again, walk again, and how to use her hand and lower arm again.

Tanya shared, “It has been two years in May of this year and she is finally able — with constant occupational therapy — to use the lower part of her arm but will never be able to use it fully. Due to her full neck fusion she will never be able to jump on trampolines, ride horses, do cheerleading, sports that require her to be physical or even tumbling. It is too dangerous for re-injury to her neck.

“I want people to understand that although the laws may say you can forward-face your child at 23-pounds or 2 years old in some states, the best thing is to always rear-face until at least 40-pounds or even 50-pounds, if you can do so. Aniyah would have not had any injuries at all if she had been rear-facing in the accident. She is learning to function very well with her disabilities and is thriving now.”

Mrs Bender said she wants “so badly to save others from this tragedy.”

Internal decapitation is classed as an injury characterised by complete disruption of all the ligaments between the occiput and C1.

There are very differing laws in Australia 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.

Please check the guidelines in YOUR state and ensure your child is safely secured.

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  • Sometimes the child hates being rear facing or they are too tall, very sad outcome for this girl


  • I’m so sorry that this has occurred.


  • That’s a horrible story, but I think she still could have been seriously injured no matter what way she was facing. It sounds like a very serious accident and I think most people would never think twice about forward facing at two…


  • Glad she survived but sorry that she isn’t allowed to do lots of things that others her age can.


  • What an absolutely tragic story and an accident that shouldn’t have happened. You trust that these car seats are safe. So very sad.


  • A tragic accident, I’m so sorry to hear about this.


  • The difference between what you HAVE to do, and wht you SHOULD do, can be confusing.


  • Every parents worst nightmare, hope she gets well soon


  • How awful and tragic is this !
    They should change the law based on incidents like this.


  • We kept our children rear facing for as long as possible. However it is normal to follow the guidelines. Maybe the guidelines need updating?


  • Oh no, I hope she makes a quick and complete recovery


  • We’re so lucky to have not had any accidents. The baby capsule we hired from our local council was only for 6 months before we had to give it back. Then we assumed forward facing was fine because he was 6 months old. Maybe they need to have the hire capsules for longer?


  • What a terrible accident. So many things she can’t do anymore. :-(


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