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Mom Warns Others After Seatbelt Mistake Almost Cost Child Her Life


The mother of a 6-year old girl admits seat belt mistakes to warn others

You’re going to be questioning your car seat use, your booster seat use, and how your kids wear their seat belts after hearing what happened to this young girl. The Car Seat Lady shared her story on Facebook and encouraged parents to read and share as well.

A 6-year-old girl in Virginia has a long road to recovery right now, but she’s on the mend. Little Samantha just got out of the hospital three weeks ago after being in a car crash with her dad coming back from a county fair. They struck a tree. Samantha wasn’t in a booster seat because her mother thought she had outgrown it. The girl had also taken the seat belt, like so many kids, and put the top portion behind her back. The girl’s mom, Shelly Martin describes what it’s like getting the initial phone call in this video from WWBT News 12 in Richmond.

NBC12 – WWBT – Richmond, VA News On Your Side

“It’s awful, I mean it’s torture. You know what I mean? Your mind kind of thinks of all sorts of things. They told me she had facial and head injuries and stomach lacerations and that she was still in surgery and that’s all they would tell me for a couple of hours,” Shelly told local news, WWBT News 12 in Richmond.

Turns out, Samantha was lucky to be alive. Now I’m about to get a little graphic here, so if you’re squeamish about medical details just skip this part. The doctors explained that the far edge of the seat belt cut through her abdomen and caused her intestines to come out of her body. The doctor who operated said Samantha was essentially “cut in two.” He said most of it couldn’t be repaired.

Image via WWBT

Image via WWBT

Samantha suffered from what medical experts call “seat belt syndrome.” Injuries from seat belt syndrome are categorized by spine, abdominal, and head injuries and are caused when only the lap portion of any seat belt is worn.

Samantha is home now and had to have a binder around her belly to hold it together until she’s healed. After all she went through, Shelly is now urging parents to understand exactly how child safety seats work, how seat belts should be worn, and when it’s OK to move a kid from their safety seat. She’s speaking out against the dangers, even if it means admitting her and Samantha’s father’s mistakes.

“A lot of people seem to think that when the children don’t fit so easily in the booster, that it’s okay to take them out of the booster. That’s not the case,” said Shelly.

Shelly is exactly right and expert tips back her up. According to SafeKids.org, children in a car seat should have the harness latching at armpit level and not any lower. That’s because in the event of a crash, the child could pop out the top. The site encourages parents to read their car seat manuals and use their checklist to make sure the seats are installed properly in the first place.

The other factor to consider is whether your child is ready to move to a booster seat. I thought my kids were and had effectively moved them a few weeks ago. Now after reading these tips, I’m reevaluating my decision. Before you move your child to a booster they must exceed the height and weight limits of the car seat. Their shoulders must be above the slots of the car seat. And the big indicator that your child is ready to be moved is if their ears are peeking out above the car seat tops.

Lastly, Samantha moved the shoulder strap behind her in the car. The website Safe Ride 4 Kids explained that first of all, kids shouldn’t be moved out of their booster seats until they’re at least four feet and nine inches tall. The site estimated that is when a child is about 10 to 12 years old. When they’re using the seat belt, the shoulder strap should not go behind their back because it puts more pressure on the lap band. Upon impact, the top portion of their body would be thrown forward with nothing holding it back, while the bottom portion of their body is held back. Which again, could result in spinal, head, or in Samantha’s case, abdominal injuries.

Shelly recounted sleeping every night by her child’s side in the hospital. And the aching feeling that it didn’t have to be that way.

“Because stuff happens so quickly, so quickly,” said Shelly. “And you’ll just be, I mean, there’s always going to be that guilt about, ya know, we should’ve done better. This was completely avoidable.”

The post Mom Warns Others After Seatbelt Mistake Almost Cost Child Her Life appeared first on Scary Mommy.

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