Alicia Tickler and her husband, who live in Green Bay, were headed home after dinner with their friends in the U.P.
Their 18-month-old son, Henry, was asleep in the back when they had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting a car turning in front of them. That’s when a pick-up truck behind them slammed into the back of their SUV.
Tickler said she owes her son's life to the car seat he was secured in.
"He hit us going approximately 60 miles per hour,” said Tickler.
She said Henry started screaming.
"That was kind of when my brain stopped,” said Tickler.
She and her husband immediately checked on Henry who was still in his rear-facing car seat.
"He has a solid bite mark in his mouth. He has a few little marks on his neck, but that was his only injuries from that accident,” said Tickler.
She said his car seat and the fact he was rear-facing saved his life.
Leaders at the Center for Childhood Safety said car accidents are the number one killer of children.
"It's a simple solution but having that car seat and making sure it's installed properly,” said Kimberly Hess, the Executive Director for Center for Childhood Safety.
Wisconsin law states children must be in a rear-facing car seat until they are one, but the longer, the better.
When parents decide to move a child forward-facing, it should be based on height and weight of the child, and the specific car seat guidelines.
Older kids should be in a five-point harness or booster seat until they are 4 foot 9 inches.
"Make sure that you know your car seats, as well as the best way to install them−how they should be sitting in them,” said Tickler.
Alicia said it doesn't matter how far you are driving. Even if it's only a couple miles, your child should be buckled up in their car seat. She added, they were only ten miles from where they left when they were hit.
The Center for Childhood Safety says eight out of 10 car seats in Brown County are installed incorrectly.
If you visit their organization, they will do an inspection and help you install them.