Jennifer Sheahan, from Shanagarry in East Cork, recalled lying trapped and seriously injured in her upturned car unable to get to six-month-old Ben in the back seat.
She issued an emotional thank you last night to the “angels” who helped her and Ben in the moments after the incident.
“And I have no doubt that Ben’s IsoFix car seat saved his life,” she said.
Ms Sheahan was driving little Ben home after a weekend camping trip with her husband, Donal, and four-year-old son, Daniel, on Sunday, Apr 28, when she passed out.
The car veered off the main Cork to Midleton road near Carrigtwohill, struck a wall and flipped over just after 1pm. She said it was like waking from a “nightmare” when she came to seconds later.
Jennifer was trapped by her seat belt, her head against the ground. She had suffered two broken legs, serious head, neck and shoulder injuries, and numerous cuts.
“I remember waking up and thinking ‘this is serous, this can’t be happening’,” she said. And then there was silence from the back seat. That was the worst part. Ben wasn’t crying. That’s when I began to panic,” she said.
But she said she and her family will be forever grateful to two strangers who stopped to help. Kevin O’Sullivan, from Dungourney, crawled into the back seat where he found Ben still strapped in to his car seat. Ben had escaped without a scratch.
Jennifer remembers Mr O’Sullivan telling her that he could see the baby and that he was safe. “Knowing that Ben was not on his own meant the world to me,” she said.
A second mystery man stayed with Jennifer. She has traced Kevin and thanked him, but has yet to trace the mystery man.
She also paid tribute to the firefighters and medics who came to their aid.
Footage of their dramatic rescue will be screened on Ireland’s Search and Rescue programme on RTE One at 8.30pm next Tuesday.
The footage was recorded by a camera carried by Dr Hugh Doran, a Carrigtwohill-based GP, who has helped lead the development of the community-funded East Cork Rapid Response unit.