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Mom Says 5-Point Harnesses Saved Her Kids' Lives

Photograph by Sarah Sutton

A North Carolina mom of four is pleading with parents to not relax car-seat rules. Last week, Sarah Sutton was driving home in her Chevy Suburban with all four kids after running errands. They were on the home stretch, just a few miles from their house, when a pickup truck ran a red light and crashed into the family head on.

People stopped to help and pull the children out of their car seats, Sutton wrote in a Facebook post. Airbags were deployed. There was smoke everywhere. Her oldest was screaming, "Is my mom dead?" Sutton, who was covered in milk and juice, was listed as being in critical condition. The other driver was listed as dead upon arrival but was revived at the hospital.

Fortunately, Sutton and her four kids, who range in age from 2 to 6, are alive, but they are now dealing with post-accident traumas such as soreness, nightmares, depression and sensitivity to loud noises.

The photographs of the wreck are devastating, and it seems miraculous that they survived.

Photograph by Sarah Sutton

Photograph by Sarah Sutton

Sutton attributes their luck to her being a stickler for car seat rules. All of her children were properly strapped into their respective car seats and used five-point harnesses, which attaches at the shoulders, hips and between the legs.

Before the incident, her 47-pound, 6-year-old daughter complained that all her friends were in booster seats already, but Sutton listened to her gut and kept her daughter in a car seat.

"She kept asking and saying that car seats were for babies. I was like, 'Listen, I'm your mom, and it's my job to keep you safe,'" Sutton told Popsugar.

Moving kids to a booster seat too soon is a common mistake. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends booster seats when children have reached the weight or height maximums for their forward-facing seats. Depending on the model, this is typically after the child has reached 40 to 90 pounds, 4 feet 9 inches and are 8 to 12 years of age. The organization recommends that all children under 13 ride in the back seat.

Having survived this near-fatal accident, Sutton is using this chance to tell their story. The mom took to Facebook in hopes of getting other parents to take car-seat rules seriously.

"Please, I am begging you as a mom to really look at this. This could be you! This could be anyone!" she wrote. "I would hate to hear about your poor innocent child that died because of a choice that you made for them that could save their life. My children beat the odds on Wednesday and we are very, very lucky they are alive."

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