Toddler, 20 months, suffered fatal injuries in Martlesham A12 crash after unsecured car seat lurched into dashboard, inquest heard

Poilce investigation work at the scene of the accident on the A12 at Martlesham Heath in February.

Poilce investigation work at the scene of the accident on the A12 at Martlesham Heath in February.

A 20-month old girl was killed in a low-speed road accident in February after her car seat lurched into the dashboard as the airbag deployed.

Adela Mai Crawford, was left with serious injuries in the two-vehicle collision on the road at Martlesham on Thursday, February 11.

She was a front seat passenger in a forward-facing child seat at the time of the accident. Coroner Peter Dean said the child seat was “not effectively restrained” by the seatbelt.

Adela died in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, the following day. Dr Dean said it was “difficult to think of circumstances more tragic than the ones that have just been described”.

It is understood her mother, Annie Crawford, of Felixstowe – described at the inquest as a “loving and caring” mother - was reaching for a dummy to calm her crying child when the Volkswogen Polo she was driving was in collision with a Toyota Corrola on the approach to a roundabout near to the Tesco supermarket.

Adela Mai suffered serious, and ultimately fatal, injuries to her spinal cord in the accident.

Forensic collision investigator Roy Dade, who attended the scene, gave evidence at an inquest into Adela Mai’s death this afternoon.

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“The child seat was not secured and as the brakes were applied the seat tipped forward due to the effects of the momentum,” he said. “This placed Adela Mai directly above the airbag in the moment the cars collided and the airbag activated.”

He said that the damage to both vehicles indicated that Miss Crawford would not have been travelling any faster than 30mph, and added: “In my opinion most likely in the region of 20mph.

“The Volkswagen Polo was not fitted with any visual or audible signal warning the driver that any seatbelt was not in use. Therefore there was nothing in the car to tell Miss Crawford that that seatbelt wasn’t being used.

“[Adela Mai] was secured within the restraint by the harness but the restraint itself was not secured by the vehicle’s seatbelt as required.

“The most plausible explanation, as said by Miss Crawford, was that she was reaching for the dummy for her crying child (at the time of the collision).”

It is unclear whether the main car seatbelt had become unfastened, or whether it had not been fastened.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “Annie Crawford was a loving, caring mother.

“It’s very difficult to think of circumstances more tragic than the ones that have just been described.

“The seat itself wasn’t effectively restrained by the seatbelt as it should have been in these circumstances.

“The very, very sad circumstances here emphasise the need for anybody travelling with infants in the car to ensure not just that they are secured in the integral harness but also the whole seat is secured by the seatbelt.

“Our thoughts are very much with Adela Mai’s mother, family and all those affected by the tragedy in these particularly sad circumstances.

“I’m going to record a conclusion of road traffic accident in respect of this particularly tragic death.”