Car seat a big factor in survival of Utah baby found alive 14 hours after crash

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SPANISH FORK, UTAH -- The 18-month-old girl found in a car floating in the Spanish Fork River is recovering in the hospital after the accident that killed her mother, 25-year-old Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck.

Baby Lily Groesbeck survived some 14 hours upside down in a car seat, with no food, in a freezing river. She was discovered midday Saturday by a fisherman in Spanish Fork after police believe her mother struck a cement barrier on a bridge and careened into the river.  Rescuers claim they heard an adult voice calling for help, but they're still not sure where it came from. They flipped the car over and found the child alive.

"It's amazing; children are very resilient. And I think sometimes we don't realize how much they actually can withstand," said Dr. Barbara Walsh, University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

As for the temperature, being cold might actually have helped Lily.

"When you become hypothermic, it slows the body down.  metabolism drops; your oxygen consumption drops; your glucose metabolism in use drops. It actually ends up being neuroprotective," Walsh said.

In the end, the main reason Lily survived the awful crash is that her mother buckled her up in a car seat, so she didn't go through a window or drown, something that isn't surprising to the victim's sister

"She loved Lily with all her heart; she was the love of her life," Lily's aunt Jill Sanderson said.

Baby Lily's family released the following statement about her recovery: "Her improvement is astounding. Right now she's watching 'Dora' and singing 'Wheels on the Bus' with grandpa. She is smiling and laughing for family members. We're blown away by Lily's progress and so grateful to her rescuers."

*Follow the latest from our sister station, KSTU*

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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