(Columbia) - Images of 3-year-old Kyle David Miller of Texas are familiar to the nearly 2 million people who have watched his story on the website YouTube.
Ashley Essig, a mother-of-two living in Columbia, hopes her sons never face a similar fate. "It saddens me that such a tragedy had to happen to bring about awareness of car seats," she explained.
According to Kyle's parents, the seatbelt securing his booster seat unlatched during a two-vehicle collision in 2005. The family's van flipped over, throwing Kyle from his booster seat and the vehicle. He died, however, Kyle's parents believe he may have survived the crash if he had been restrained in a car seat with a five-point harness. At the time, they thought a booster seat was the only option for a child his size.
"When I watched it, I knew that Jed was almost out of the car seat he was in, and we were going to need to get something bigger and better," said Essig, who was moved to action by the video. She applied for a complimentary car seat through the Kyle David Miller Foundation, a charity created in honor of the late toddler.
The foundation provides parents with car seats that hold children up to 80 lbs and features a 5-point harness. Before seeing Kyle's story, Essig thought her 2-year-old son would have to move into a booster seat once he weighed 40 lbs.
"Kyle is probably smiling down now, knowing that he's helping many children and will help many in the future." Along with Essig's car seat came a small picture of Kyle, a reminder of a little boy who lost his life was but may help save others.
To apply for a free car seat or donate to the Kyle David Miller Foundation, log onto Kyle's website.