US mum Shelly Martin is reminding parents to follow booster seat guidelines, after her 6-year-old was seriously injured by a seat belt during a car accident.
The mum’s stark warning comes after her daughter Samantha was sat in the backseat of her dad’s car when it swerved and hit a tree.
But Samantha had been wearing her seatbelt incorrectly, with it pulled behind her back, and upon impact, it sliced her stomach open.
CBS News reports that her intestines were exposed and she also suffered head trauma, as well as a concussion.
Notably, Samantha wasn’t in a booster seat at the time.
“She would not have been this hurt in a booster,” Shelly told CBS News.
“Don’t think that just because your child is 7 or 8 years that they are too big… they aren’t!”
“If we can raise awareness and save another child then at least we can bring something good out of this.”
Luckily, little Samantha was released from hospital a few weeks after the accident, though her mum told CBS News that the 6-year-old is still dealing with the aftermath, and may have PTSD.
What are the booster seat laws in the UK?
Now, the law is different in the US and can vary from state to state – but here in the UK, it’s recommended that you use a booster seat until your child is over 12 years old or is at least 135cm tall.
Here at MadeForMums, we recommend parents use a high-backed car booster seat until that time.
That said, it’s always better to use something than nothing. Backless booster seats (a bottom seat which doesn’t offer side or head protection as a high-backed seat) are recommended for children over 125cm tall, or approximately 7 years old.
And of course, it’s always worth checking your little one has strapped on their seatbelt correctly, even if you think they’re past that age.
Better safe than sorry.
Images: GoFundMe/Samantha Swartwout