Booster seat safety: Mom posts about accident to warn others

Jen McLellan's 9-year-old walked away from a terrible car accident with minor injuries.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Rachel Paula Abrahamson

When Jen McLellan’s son started third grade, he decided he was done with booster seats. Luckily, his parents overruled Braeden.

On Sunday, Braeden, 9, and his dad, Chris, were headed to a friend’s home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when an SUV ran a red light, causing a T-bone collision.

The Hyundai Elantra that Braeden and Chris were riding in was totaled. Braeden, who was securely strapped in a booster, walked away with only minor injuries.

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McLellan, 39, posted chilling photos of the accident, which have been shared more than 2,000 times on Facebook.

Jen McLellan's 9-year-old son, Braeden, no longer complains about riding in a booster seat.Courtesy of Jen McLellan

“The paramedics said how they don’t often see kids Braeden’s size doing so well after an accident like this,” the Plus Mommy podcast host told TODAY Parents. “His chest and neck bruising show how the booster kept him at the appropriate height. Had he not been in a booster, the seat belt would have been at his neck and face.”

How booster seats save lives

Braeden was riding in an Evenflo AMP high back seat, but Jennifer Saxton, a certified child passenger safety technician and CEO of Tot Squad, says you can’t go wrong when choosing a booster as long as it's properly installed.

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“Some boosters lift the child to fit the seat belt and others adjust the seat belt to fit the child, but they’re all equally effective,” Saxton explained. “With car accidents as a leading cause of death for kids under 14, booster seats are so important until bodies mature.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most kids are ready to use adult seat belts without a booster when they reach 4-feet-9 inches, typically between 8 and 12 years of age. Safe Kids Worldwide recommends a child be at least 4-feet-9 inches and between 80 and 100 pounds.

Braeden knows he is lucky to be alive and no longer complains about his booster seat.

“It could have been so much worse,” McLellan told. TODAY Parents. “I will forever be thankful we never budged on booster safety.”

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