This Terrifying Video Shows You Why Your Big Kid Still Needs a Booster Seat

Eastern Virginia Medical School/Facebook

While parents are becoming increasingly diligent about car safety for our little ones, many of us still view our kids as being old enough to ditch the booster seat at around 7 or 8 years old. Unfortunately, that arbitrary number may be way off. The Eastern Virginia Medical School has released a terrifying -- and informational -- video meant to show parents just how desperately their "big kids" need the safety of a booster seat

  • The beginning of the video is fairly graphic.

    It shows a mother with her son on what seems to be a normal post–sports game pickup. While the mother is seen driving the van, her son is in the back seat, "safely" buckled in. The mother isn't distracted by texting, the son isn't acting wild in the back seat, and everything seems to be going well. That is, until another car rams into them, causing a crash that results in the young boy's admission to the hospital. 

    While the unconscious boy is being helped by medical staff, one of the doctors says, "Mom, tell me again, where was he at in the car? ... Was he in a booster seat?" To which the distraught mother replies, "No, I mean, he's 9, he's almost 10 years old." 

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  • The mom's simple, honest answer is clearly so disturbing because it matches what so many of us think.

    "Many parents think if their child is in the back seat with an adult seat belt, that their kid is safe. And it’s just not the case," said Phillip Thomas, MD, when interviewed in the latter part of the video. 

    Cathy Peterson, a registered nurse, also shared that when it comes to car safety for children, age doesn't matter nearly as much as size. If a regular, non-booster seat belt falls across the chest and/or abdomen incorrectly, it puts kids in serious danger in the event of a car crash. 

  • Experts shared that children should not be allowed to sit in a car without a booster seat until they are at least 4'9".

    Otherwise, using adult seat belts can run the risk of damaging major internal organs. "An unrestrained child, even at 30 miles an hour, will experience the same force as if they fell out of a third story window," said Georjeane L. Blumling, PhD, in the video. 

  • For those who aren't sure whether or not their child is ready ride without a booster seat, the "seatbelt fit test" is suggested in the video.

    While they are sitting all the way back in their seat, the belt should fit across the chest and shoulder rather than the neck. 

  • Their knees should be able to bend comfortably over the edge of the seat.

  • Their feet should also be resting flat on the floor.

    This means that any children who aren't quite tall enough to touch their feet to the floor while riding definitely still need a booster seat. 

  • Enforcing this rule isn't going to be fun or easy, but it is certainly necessary.

    More from CafeMom: Police Discover a Shocking Car Seat DIY That Will Make Your Blood Boil

    The older your kids get, the more they're going to complain about not being able to use "real" seats. It may even be a bit of a hassle for you to still be checking to make sure your 10-year-old is safely secured in a booster seat every time you want to make a run to the store. But, as the poignant clip at the beginning of the video shows, it only takes one accident to make you wish you'd known the risks earlier. 

car seat safety