Some parents think that recommendations to keep children in car seats until the age of eight are overly-cautious, and some parents get very laxed about forgetting a booster seat. Many will think it suffices to just buckle in a school-aged child. Two parents found out the hard way after their daughter was nearly killed in an accident because of her seatbelt.
Samantha, age 6, was picked up by her father and strapped into the back seat. Her father took off and the little girl found the cross strap uncomfortable, so she put it behind her. Her father lost control of the car and crashed it into a tree. Without that booster seat or at least that upper strap support, Samantha was lurched forward and nearly cut in half by the lap belt.
The seat belt across her lap cut through Samantha's abdominal wall. Doctors had to employ the use of binders to keep the little girl's organs intact. Samantha was released from the hospital three weeks later, but still has a long way to go before she heals.
Samantha's parents learned the hard way about 'Seatbelt Syndrome'. A lot of parents who might be very conscientious about securing infants and toddlers in car seats tend to be less concerned about school-aged children being placed in booster seats. Just because a child is bigger doesn't mean they're safer without a car or booster seat.
There is a reason why safety protocols say a child should be in a booster seat until at least age 8, weighing 80 pounds and standing at 4'9" tall. Some 340 kids between the ages of 4 and 10 die each year in car accidents, and the risk of injury and/or death increases exponentially without a booster seat. Play it safe—don’t rush to get them out of that seat.