Feb 12, 2010 10:49 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
The day was like any other.
Jennifer Rentsch had just dropped off her two other daughters with their dad in Rembrandt, Iowa.
Just outside of town, her tires hit a patch of ice on the road. Rentsch's car slid across both lanes of Highway 71. She says she felt like she was in slow motion as her Dodge Durango rolled over twice and landed upright.
Rentsch's thoughts shifted from her own well-being to her 1-month-old daughter, Maysen, who she thought was securely strapped in her car seat in the back seat.
"I turned around and she was gone. Then, I just lost it," she recalls.
Rentsch's door was jammed shut, so she crawled out the only window broken by the rollover. Once Jennifer made it out of the car, she frantically started digging in the snow to find her daughter. It wasn't until she walked to the other side of the SUV that she found what she had been looking for.
"About three feet away, I saw her car seat. There was relief, but then I was also like, 'What am I coming up to?', 'Is she going to be alive?', 'Is she even going to be in it?'," she said.
Maysen was surprisingly fine, sitting in her car seat.
The base of the infant carrier was still intact, just like she was when Rentsch last saw her in the back seat of the SUV. Rentsch said the seat belt where Maysen was sitting had come unclipped.
When she looked over her daughter--there was no snow, glass, not even a scratch on the newborn.
Paramedics rushed both mother and daughter to the hospital, and shortly afterwards they both left with a clean bill of health.
Buena Vista County Sheriff's officials say they can't explain why the child and the entire car seat were thrown from the vehicle.
The seat belt used showed no signs of tearing.
Rentsch says what had been fully secure and appears to have come unclipped.