Although most of us don’t think twice before strapping our kids in the car and heading to the store, the reality is that driving can be a very dangerous activity. While car crash deaths have declined in recent years thanks to increased safety measures, most crash deaths occur among children traveling as passengers.
One mom is making it her personal mission to spread the word about car seat safety for kids after her young daughter was severely injured by a seat belt.
As PopSugar reports, Samantha Swartwout was riding in her father’s pickup when the truck ran off the road and hit a tree. Samantha was not in a booster seat and was wearing her seat belt behind her back as many kids and adults do. However, this is a very dangerous practice, as Samantha and her parents soon found out. Samantha’s seat belt sliced through her body, exposing her intestines and requiring intensive surgery.
It might sound hard to believe, but in a car crash, a seat belt can become a dangerous weapon if it is not worn correctly.
As this video from WSB-TV explains, the force of a car wreck can make improper seat belt usage a deadly decision:
Luckily for Samantha and her family, the amazing team of doctors and nurses at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center were able to save her, and she is now recuperating at home.
However, Samantha’s mom, Shelly Martin, is determined to make sure that other parents do not have to go through what her family went through. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, kids should ride in a booster seat until they are at least 8 years old or 4 feet, 9 inches tall, though laws do vary from state to state. Martin strongly believes that her daughter would not have suffered such serious injuries if she was in a booster seat.
Martin is also encouraging parents to remember that proper seat belt use is important even when your child is not riding with you. Her daughter Samantha does have a booster seat in her car, but when she was riding with her dad, she was not seated in one. Their story serves as an important reminder that everyone in the family needs to be educated and proactive about seat belt and car seat usage .
People are offering Samantha and her mom their support, and thanking them for spreading this valuable message.
Check out this helpful car seat guide and get personalized tips from Safe Kids to learn more about how to keep your little ones safe in the car.