Mum’s warning to parents over deadly car seat mistake: ‘I wish someone had warned me’

Cameron's Story is Saving Lives

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

Can you see anything wrong with this photo? This mother didn't - and it resulted in her baby's death

Four years ago, Holly Wagner's 11-month-old son died because he wasn't properly buckled into his car seat.

Since his tragic passing, his heartbroken mother made it her mission to make a powerful plea to anyone travelling in a car with a child.

Speaking to US site ABC7, Holly revealed at the time that if a child isn't secure, it could be fatal - as she found out the hard way.

GALLERY: RIP to all the celebs who passed away in 2017


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Andy Cunningham

Andy Cunningham was best known as the main character and puppeteer on his well-loved children's TV show Bodger & Badger.

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CREDIT: Hughes Entertainment

John Heard

John Heard became a household name after starring as father Peter McAllister in the Home Alone films alongside Macaulay Culkin.

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Peter Sallis

Peter Sallis was a British actor, best known for being the voice of Wallace from the famous Aardman Studios duo Wallace & Gromit.

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CREDIT: Getty Images

Sir John Hurt

Sir John Hurt CBE was a well-known and well-loved British actor. Over his 56-year career, he appeared in over 129 films and many TV roles, with 40 of his characters dying – a record for a mainstream actor.

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Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell was a musician, best known for being the lead singer of rock bands Audioslave and Soundgarden. He also wrote and performed the theme song for Casino Royale, the 2006 James Bond film which was the first to star Daniel Craig as Bond.

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Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton was an American actor whose career spanned 42 years. Starring in big blockbuster films such as The Terminator alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Aliens with Sigourney Weaver, True Lies again with Schwarzenegger and Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks.

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John Noakes

John Noakes was a TV presenter. He was best known as being the longest-serving presenter of children's TV show Blue Peter, hosting for 12 years and 6 months.

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Chuck Berry

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Joni Sledge

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Gordon Kaye

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Erin Moran

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Moray Watson

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Sir Roger Moore

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Robert Hardy

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Bruce Forsyth

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Tom Petty

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Iain Rogerson

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Antonio Carluccio

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Keith Chegwin

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Heather North

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David Cassidy

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She told ABC7: "I make sure to educate as many people as I possibly can so they don't have to deal with what I've had to deal with."

Just weeks before the car crash that killed her son, Cameron, Holly posted a photo of him in his car seat to Facebook.

In the picture, there was something wrong with Cameron's car seat - and it is a common mistake that many parents are unwittingly making every day.

According to experts, infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least two-years-old or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat's manufacturer.

In Cameron's photo, he can be seen facing forwards with twisted straps.

And, despite the photo being seen by many of Holly's friends and family on Facebook, not one person noticed the danger he was in.

"No-one said anything. I wish someone had corrected me and told me he wasn't restrained properly," she said.

Holly now uses her blog and a Facebook page dedicated to Cameron to help other parents avoid the devastating error she made.


She wrote on her blog:

"I was that mom… the one placing her child, the most important thing to her, in the car seat wrong.

"I was that mom that would share pictures like the one above on social media sites and never was corrected.

"I was that mom that would allow friends and family to take my children places and assumed they were safe in the car.

"I was that mom that would put hundreds of miles on the car without a care in the world assuming everything was perfect until...

" was too late.

"Now, I'm that mom who doesn't sleep at night.

"I'm that mom who spends most of her shopping trips avoiding the baby boy clothes.

"I am the mom that has learned from her mistakes.

"I am that woman that will tell you you're doing in wrong. And you know why?

"Because I wish every single day of my life now that someone would have told me I was doing it wrong before it was too late."

Brave Holly is now trying to turn her devastating loss into something positive, teaching parents to use car seats safely.

We've taken a look at to bring you some safety tips and guidelines for when it comes to securing your own infants in their carseats.

They advise parents to:

  1. Read the entire child safety seat manual.

  2. Shoulder straps should be threaded through the lowest harness slots to best protect your baby. They should be at or below your baby's shoulders.

  3. Convertible seats usually have one of three harness options: the 5-point harness, the tray shield, and the T-shield. The 5-point harness offers the best protection for infants because it can tighten to fit snugly and does not obstruct the baby's head. Both of the other harness options can cover a baby's face and are not recommended for infants under 20 pounds (10 kilograms) or younger than 1 year old.

  4. All straps should fit snugly, especially over the shoulder and thigh areas. Straps should always lie flat, never twisted. If you can pinch any harness webbing between your fingers, it's too loose.

  5. Dress your baby in clothes that keep the legs free. This will allow you to buckle the latch crotch strap properly between the baby's legs. If it is cold outside, harness your baby first and then cover him or her with a blanket (but never cover your baby's head). Never buckle a blanket under the seat straps.

  6. If your baby slouches to one side or the other in the seat (common among newborns), place rolled-up cloth diapers or rolled hand towels on each side of the shoulders. There are supports specially designed for car seats, but only use them if they came manufactured with your safety seat. Never place any kind of padding or blanket under your baby — this can affect the harness's ability to restrain your little one.

  7. While most rear vehicle seats are sloped toward the back of the car for the comfort of adult passengers, safety seats are designed to be installed on a flat surface. However, many safety seats are equipped with an adjustable pedestal to overcome this. If yours doesn't have one, do what technicians do at car-seat checks: "We place sections of a cut-up swimming-pool noodle under the area where the baby's feet rest," says San Diego police officer Mark McCullough, a certified child-passenger-safety instructor. "Tightly rolled-up towels also work well."

  8. Be sure to readjust harness straps as your child grows. Heavy clothing (such as a puffy winter coat) should always be placed over your child after being harnessed in the seat. (A tip: After your child is harnessed in the seat, slip his or her coat on backward for warmth.)

Were you aware of how dangerous it is to have your child's carseat facing forwards? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.


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