Doctors save toddler who suffered scary 'internal decapitation' in accident

Oct 7, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Sixteen-month-old Jaxon Taylor was riding in a car with his mother and his 9-year-old sister when they were involved in a high-speed, head-on collision near their home in Australia.

His mother and sister escaped without major injuries, but little Jaxon did not. He suffered internal decapitation — a condition that is as horrible as it sounds. The impact ruptured his upper vertebrae, leaving him seriously injured with an internally severed head. This sort of accident is usually catastrophic — if someone survives the incident, they are often left paralyzed or unable to breathe on their own.

MoreDangerous car seat mistakes parents regularly make

But that hasn't been the case for Jaxon, on whom surgeons operated for several hours as they rebuilt his vertebrae, and while he still has a ways to go in recovery, his prognosis is really, really good. He is already learning how to walk again, and they are hopeful he will grow up with little to no ongoing problems.

Jaxon's story is incredible, and he's certainly fortunate to have landed in the best hands he could have hoped for — his surgeons.

But can you imagine if he wasn't fastened into a car seat?

We tend to want our kids to hurry up and get out of the car seat because the seats are such a hassle to cart around, move from car to car and, of course, get our kids into! But if there's ever a reminder that we're lucky they were invented, the Taylor family's miracle is it.

MoreCar seat safety: Has anyone borrowed your car lately?

Car seat safety is so important, and having your child properly fastened into a car or booster seat before you step on the gas should be one of a parent's top priorities. Recommendations on the best practices have changed over the last couple of decades, but it's crucial to keep up on these changes for the best interests and health of your child.

For instance, it's been only within the last five years that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you leave your child rear facing until they are at least 2 years old (or have outgrown the height and weight limitations of their car seats). Doing this can reduce the chances your child will be seriously injured in an accident.

Also, it's become important to remember that dressing your child in bulky snowsuits or coats can increase her risk of injury in the event of a crash. Instead, dress her in a thin, warm layer, and tuck a coat or blanket around your child after she's buckled in.

MoreGrandparents forget baby in hot car while mom is sleeping

It's exciting to watch your child grow up, and it can be tempting to move the car seat around or put her in a seat that she might not be ready for — because, let's face it — kids are amazing, and watching them grow gives us a sense of pride. For your child's safety, though, it's best to keep that chest clip on the chest, the snowsuits in the closet and the seat turned around — at least until she's developmentally ready to safely take that next step.