The California Highway Patrol is crediting the use of child safety seats for saving the lives of two young kids during a crash on Highway 101 in San Rafael.
A father and the kids suffered minor injuries Tuesday afternoon when an SUV went off the road on northbound 101 and went down an embankment about 150 feet, the CHP said.
Although visibly shaken, both kids — boys aged 4 years and 16 months — appeared to be free of major injuries because they had been properly restrained in correctly installed child safety seats inside the 2003 Nissan Pathfinder, CHP officer Andrew Barclay said.
“This collision demonstrates the importance of not only having the proper child seat installed in your vehicle, but having it installed correctly," Barclay said in a release. "Two young lives were saved by these seats, which are designed to protect children in situations like this. If you are installing a child seat or booster seat and you believe it is 'good enough,' it probably isn’t."
At 3:49 p.m. Tuesday, personnel from the Novato Fire District received a call about a crash on northbound 101 just north of the Marinwood exit and just south of the Novato city limits, said Division Chief Mark Heine. When the firefighters got there, CHP officers had already removed the children from car seats inside the vehicle, which had slid about 100 feet down an embankment, Heine said.
The kids' father, 37-year-old Robert Foster, was still in the SUV. He was removed and carried up the steep hillside using a rope rescue system, Heine said.
All three were taken to Novato Community Hospital by paramedics.
Heine said it appeared the SUV swerved off the right shoulder of the highway, through some heavy brush and rolled down the embankment. The vehicle ended up on its roof.
The CHP is investigating the crash.
Barclay said agencies throughout Marin County have certified car seat installation technicians who can assist free of charge. Call the Marin CHP Office in Corte Madera at 415-924-1100 to set up a time to meet with a technician.