It was the phone call you never want to get. Jen McLellan answered the phone on Sunday, September 15th to learn that her husband, Chris, and their 9-year-old son, Braeden, had been in a terrible car accident.
The pair were on their way to a friend’s home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when an SUV ran a red light, causing a T-bone collision.
“I didn’t freak out until I arrived on the scene and couldn’t see my son,” Jen wrote on Facebook. “I finally saw him covered in a red drink, and for a few seconds, I mistook it for something else. Then I saw the car, and my heart stopped.”
The family’s Hyundai Elantra was completely totaled, but young Braeden only walked away with some bruises.
That’s because the 9-year-old was securely fastened in a booster seat, something Jen says has been an ongoing battle with her son.
“I can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve had with my 9-year-old about him not wanting to be in a booster because his friends don’t use one. I’m forever thankful I never budged.”
She says Paramedics on the scene were surprised how well Braeden was after seeing the car wreck and credited the booster seat for his safety.
“At the ER and follow-up appointment with my son’s pediatrician, medical providers echoed what the paramedics said – thank goodness he was in a booster!”
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.
Jen says she hopes to spread awareness about how essential booster seats are for bigger kids.
“I have one thing to ask of everyone reading this – keep your children in boosters for as long a possible.”
She says Braeden knows how lucky he is to be alive. Since the accident, he no longer complains about having to sit in his high back booster seat.
According to the AAP, car crashes remain a leading cause of death for children. Over the last 10 years, 4 children under the age of 14 died each day in a car accident. Holding your ground, and ensuring your child’s car seat is just right for them could mean the difference between life and death.