Crew Brazeau owes his health-and perhaps his life-to his older brother, Beau, who used his head to protect his brother's. Labeling 3-year-old Crew "an active toddler" understates his desire to keep up with his older brothers, Conner, age 12; Beau, 7; and Brock, 5.
"Crew went from being a baby to trying to be a big boy," says his mother, Missy Brazeau. "The second he learned how to walk, he was running after his brothers and playing baseball and soccer with them.
On May 20, 2012, Crew, then age 2, was playing with Beau and Brock in the driveway of the family's home in the Beaverdale area of Des Moines. Missy periodically checked on the boys through a window as she and her mother and sister packed up the house to prepare for the family's move to their current home in Polk City.
Five minutes after she last glanced at her sons, Missy experienced every mother's worst nightmare: Beau came running into the house to tell her Crew had been struck by a pickup truck after riding his bicycle into the street. Missy rushed outside to find the distraught driver carrying Crew to her.
"I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience," Missy says. "I never thought an accident like that would happen to Crew. My mom, sister and I had to console the driver as much as the boys; I didn't blame him. Luckily, he had just turned the corner onto our street and hadn't had much time to pick up speed."
Later, Missy was able to reflect on how fortunate Crew had been. The previous week, Beau, a kindergartner at the time, had learned about bicycle helmet safety at school. As the boys prepared to ride their bicycles, Beau had placed the family's only serviceable helmet on Crew's head, potentially saving him from head trauma.
The Best Money They Ever Spent
Crew had no visible injuries when Missy brought him into the house after the accident. However, when she and Crew arrived at Blank Children's Hospital by ambulance, she knew her son had suffered a serious injury when he was whisked away by a team of physicians while she and her husband, Daryl, were placed in the care of a chaplain for comforting.
Thirty minutes after Crew arrived at Blank Children's, Richard A. Sidwell, MD, general and trauma surgeon at The Iowa Clinic, informed the Brazeaus that Crew had three broken ribs, a lacerated spleen and bruises on his temple. Had he not been wearing a helmet, Dr. Sidwell said, his condition could have been much worse.
Crew spent one night in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit until his internal bleeding stopped. After four nights of careful monitoring by Dr. Sidwell, he returned home and, one week later, was back to roughhousing with his brothers. Her son's experience taught Missy the value of bicycle helmets.
"I didn't strictly enforce wearing helmets before, but now all of my children have properly fitted helmets that they must wear when they ride," she says. "They're the best investments my family has ever made. My husband and I are so grateful to Dr. Sidwell and the rest of Crew's care team. We're lucky to have a hospital like Blank Children's in central Iowa."
If you're searching for a bicycle helmet for your child, look no further than the Safety Store at Blank Children's. Browse our selection of $9 helmets, and let a safety educator help you find one that properly fits your child.