HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A Henrico mother is warning others about the importance of a child booster seats after her little girl ended up in the hospital because of a seatbelt.
Six-year-old Samantha Swartwout was riding in the back seat of her dad's car in September, when it veered off Ashland Road in Hanover County and crashed into a tree.
The child’s mother, Shelly Martin, said the impact of the crash was so immense that the seatbelt sliced open her daughter’s stomach.
“Her intestines were out on scene on the left side,” Martin told CBS News.
Samantha’s severe injuries also included a concussion and a fracture of her L4 vertebrae.
Injuries, Martin believes could have been prevented if her daughter had been in a child booster seat.
“Don’t think that just because your child is 7 or 8 years that they are too big... they aren’t,” she said.
In Virginia, DMV says a child should remain in a booster seat until they're at least 8 years old and 4 feet 9 inches tall.
Martin is warning parents to learn from her daughter’s accident and always follow your state’s recommendation on child booster seats.
After Samantha’s severe injuries she was hospitalized at VCU Medical Center for three weeks.
“She was in the ICU for two weeks and the pediatric floor for another week.” Martin said.
Samantha was released in October, but now Martin says her daughter is seeing a psychologist for possible PTSD from the accident.
Despite the difficult times for her family, Martin says she is finding a new purpose.
“If we can raise awareness and save another child then at least we can bring something good out of this,” Martin said.
If you would like to help the family, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover medical expenses for Samantha.