6-year-old severely injured when seat belt sliced open her abdomen

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Samantha didn't wear the shoulder strap and only used the waist strap of the seat belt; it was also placed too high since she wasn't using a booster seat.

Can you imagine how it must feel if the very thing that was supposed to protect your child’s life was the very thing that brought her harm?

She wasn’t using a booster seat

Samantha Martin, 6, was almost cut in two by a seatbelt, of all things. According to her mother, Shelly Martin, they were going home from a fair and Shelly thought that her daughter was old enough not to use a booster seat while in the car. However, Samantha didn’t wear the shoulder strap and only used the waist strap of the seat belt; it was also placed too high since she wasn’t using a booster seat.

Disaster struck when their car suddenly went off the road and hit a tree. The resulting impact caused the waist strap to dig into Samantha’s abdomen, causing horrific injuries. In addition, she also had a concussion and needed stitches on her forehead.

“She would not have been this hurt in a booster”

Her injuries were so severe, and as Shelly described them, “Her intestines were out on scene on the left side.”

“She would not have been this hurt in a booster,” Shelly adds. “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,” Shelly said.

Thankfully, Samantha has since recovered from her injuries after spending 3 weeks in the hospital, 2 weeks of which were spent in the ICU.

Car and booster seats save children’s lives

Samantha’s doctor referred to her injury as “seat belt syndrome.” It’s a type of injury wherein the seatbelt itself is the one that’s causing the injury, and it’s more common among children than adults.

Photo from: vimeo.com

This type of injury usually happens when the seatbelt is worn incorrectly thereby causing more harm. That’s why booster seats are necessary for children from 5 until 8 years of age and at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall.

Additionally, for newborns and children until age 2, you should use a rear-facing car seat in order to secure your child inside your vehicle. Once they are around 2 years old, they can start using a front-facing car seat.

Make sure to follow all of the safety and installation instructions that come with your child’s booster seat as improper use can also be a cause of injury. It’s also important to teach your child basic safety tips such as buckling themselves in, and making sure that the buckles are secure.

READ: Quiz: How much do you know about child safety?

Sources: cbsnews.com, goodhousekeeping.com, babycenter.com

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