Mum cops seat fine after toddler injured in fiery crash
AN AMAMOOR Creek woman whose toddler was hurt in a fiery car crash near Jones Hill earlier this year has been fined for failing to properly restrain her son.
Amber Rae Hughes, 29, pleaded guilty to negligence causing harm when she faced Gympie Magistrates Court on Thursday.
The outcome - a $1000 fine - was most likely secondary to the anguish the mother-of-two felt after learning of her three-year-old's injuries.
The court heard Hughes had been driving towards Gympie on the Mary Valley Hwy on April 27, with her sons in the back seat - her two-year-old was secure in his car seat, but her three-year-old was only restrained by an adult lap belt.
The court heard at about
11am, Hughes fell asleep near Cox Rd and the Mitsubishi Pajero she was driving ran off the road and into a tree.
Passing drivers helped save the mother and children from the upturned car before it burst into intense flames.
The three were treated at Gympie Hospital and later the three-year-old boy was transferred to Brisbane for treatment of a swollen spleen, internal bleeding and two fractured vertebrae.
Hughes' lawyer, Chris Anderson, said the remorseful mother was "beside herself knowing her actions caused injury to one of her children".
He said she was tired from working night shift and had been on the way to the dentist; it was an unexpected trip after her two-year-old knocked his teeth that morning on the trampoline.
Her son's car seat had been accidentally left in her partner's car who was at work.
"This is something my client will live with for the rest of her life," Mr Anderson said.
Magistrate M. Baldwin said she needed to send a stern reminder about the importance of properly restraining children in cars.
"If kids are in cars they need to be protected," Mrs Baldwin said. "Accidents happen so easily. The rules are there for a very good reason. This could have ended very, very badly."
The court heard, now eight weeks after the accident, the little boy was progressing well.
What to do
- Rearward facing baby capsule or infant restraint
- Rearward or forward facing infant restraint
6 months-4 years
- Rearward facing restraint or forward facing child restraint with built-in harness
4 years-7 years
Booster seat with an adult seat belt or an accessory child safety harness
7 years - 16 years Booster seat with adult seat belt or if big enough adult seat belt or child harness.