Inflated opinion

Sat 26th May 2007 by Ben Palmer.

“It was reelly, reelly big Kerrash, Daddy!” Emily told me at bedtime tonight. We've all been a bit shaken up today, and she was absolutely right. We did have a bit of a big crash earlier today.

I was driving the children and Min, Jessica's step-mother, to a two year old's birthday barbecue near Chalfont St Giles. The lane we were in was narrow, and there was a car approaching, so I pulled over as best I could in the widest part I could, and thought that the other car would be able to squeeze past, slowly.

The only trouble was, it never slowed down, so at a pace of about 40 miles an hour a small red hatchback ploughed into our off side wing and my door with a loud, fingernail on blackboard like crunch, and the two front airbags inflated with a bang, ripping the dashboard and steering wheel to pieces as they blew.

I was momentarily stunned, and wasn't quite sure if I was hurt or not, but as the airbags deflated I was aware that the car was filling up with acrid white smoke. All I could think was – the children. Min and I ascertained that there were no injuries and both tried to get ourselves and the children out as quickly as possible. My door was buckled and wasn't going to open so I released Harry's belt behind me and we all piled out on Min's side.

It was then apparent that the smoke was from the air bags and not fire; and also that the side of the car was totally caved in. Thank God the impact had been sustained by the front pillar of the car or else I could have had more than rattled nerves and my bruised lip.

The children are still worried about the smoke, and terribly upset that the garage may not be able to fix their car and that we may have to have another one, but they have learned an important lesson. When I go on and on about safety and seat belts there is a reason. They can now equate my warnings of a crash and injury with the frailty of human life, and that's something that they're only too aware of.


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What is childbed fever?

Childbed fever is an infection of the womb in new mothers which can lead to septicaemia. If left untreated infection will cause organ failure and death - even in young, fit mothers.
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We would like every parent and every midwife and doctor to know that childbed fever is still a very real threat to a mother's life.
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Who is Jessica?

Jessica Palmer was a Mum. She died in June 2004, at 34 years old, of childbed fever caused by Group A streptococcus.
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