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This mom's viral post shows the power of keeping kids in car seats for as long as you can

It's a milestone many little kids look forward to: Moving out of their car seat and into a big kid booster seat. Booster seats are meant to position adult seat belts properly on kids who have outgrown car seats, but one mom is urging parents not to rush into using them before children have maxed out the weight limits on their five-point harness car seats.


Mom of four Sarah Sutton was recently running errands with her kids— 6-year-old Alayna, 5-year-old Liam, 3-year-old Ryder and baby Aynsley, age 2—when she says another driver ran a red light and crashed into the family's SUV head-on.

"Alayna and Liam were wanting to move to boosters as 'car seats are for babies,'" Sutton tells Motherly, noting that all of her kids were strapped into a Safety First Air 65 car seat when they were hit. "I am so glad I kept them in a five-point harness and will continue to do so for as long as I can."

In a Facebook post that has gone viral, Sutton urges other parents to keep their children in car seats for as long as possible, even if they're begging to move up to a booster. While all of Sutton's children suffered concussions and the three oldest sustained some injuries where the car seat belts cut into their skin slightly, the harnesses prevented much worse injuries as they kept the kids from being thrown in a crash that Sutton fears would have been worse if she wasn't driving her heavy Chevy Suburban.

"The only car we will ever feel safe in is the Chevy Suburban," says Sutton, who has already replaced her vehicle and her car seats. "They are now in the updated version Grow and Go EX Air from Safety First."

The kids kids have plenty of time left in those seats before Sutton converts them into booster mode. The Grow and Go EX Air from Safety First is built for kids up to 65 pounds when used as a forward-facing car seat (smaller babies can rear-face) and can be used as a be belt-positioning booster for kids weighing 40 to 100 pounds.

As Sutton points out in her now viral post, "there are many [other] car seats on the market that allow us to keep them in a five point harness past the age of four."

In fact, a kid might be eight years old before they max out of their convertible car seat, as many of those seats are built to hold kids who weigh up to 65 pounds. According to the American Pediatric Association (APA), parents should keep kids in car seats for as long as possible, until the child has outgrown weight or height limits.

After that, it's finally time to put your kiddo into a booster (or in Sutton's case, convert your convertible car seat into a booster). The weight limits on many boosters can go up to or even beyond 100 pounds, and kids are typically in those from about 8 to 12 years old (or until they are about 4 feet, nine inches tall), according to the APA. Boosters aren't something parents should rush into, but they are a step we shouldn't skip.


"Without a booster, a child in a crash is more likely to have abdominal and internal organ injuries since adult belts don't fit correctly," Joseph Colella, Director of Child Passenger Safety for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, previously told Motherly. "A booster positions vehicle seat belts on the strongest parts of the body and away from the vulnerable abdomen."

Booster seats are great, but Sutton's story proves that they really are for the biggest big kids, and that—contrary to what Alayna and Liam once thought—convertible car seats are not just for babies.

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Create a school-ready capsule wardrobe for your kids

Dress for success whether virtual learning or in the classroom!

Tina Meeks

Going "back to school" this year may be less of a literal statement than in years past—but there is just as much reason for your kids to celebrate moving on to new grades. Just like in every new school year, a big part of the fun is refreshing your kids' wardrobe with clothes that allow them to express themselves.

Even if finding back to school clothes this year doesn't include a trip to the mall, you can still make an event of it by shopping H&M's kids collection from your computer. Pull up another chair for your shopping buddy and get the cart started with these fave capsule wardrobe options we've already scouted.

Here are our favorite picks:

A t-shirt made for play

H&M t-shirt

Call them essentials, not basics. A graphic t-shirt aces the test when it comes to being perfect for school. And because your little student will probably want to wear something that expresses their personal style as often as possible, it's great to know the shirts can stand up to school time, playtime, downtime and everything in between!

$4.99

Dressed-up casual shorts for total comfort

H&M boy shorts

Whether pulling up a chair for a virtual meeting with the class or heading back to the school for in-person learning, some comfortable, yet stylish, shorts will help your kid focus on the real tasks at hand: learning—and having fun while doing it!

$19.99

Layers for when seasons change

H&M sweatshirt

When it comes to feeling comfortable at school, layers are the MVPs. Whether the AC is blasting or the day started off cool and is warming up quickly, having a unique sweatshirt to shed or add will help your kid look cool while staying warm.

$9.99

A bit of flair with distressed denim

H&M distressed jeans

A school staple for generations, denim is both classic and continually fashionable with updates like distressing and new wash colors. If you're shopping online for jeans this year, take note of H&M's generous return policy—your kids can try on the orders at home and return anything that doesn't fit without a trip to the store.

$24.99

A fashion statement piece

H&M girls skirt

What's better than expressing yourself through a stylish outfit when school is back in session? Still feeling perfectly comfortable and ready to tackle anything the day holds while looking so good. With so many fashion-forward looks available at budget-friendly prices, H&M's children's collection means every kid can find an outfit that speaks to them.

$14.99

Some comfy kicks

H&M boys shoes

A sure way to put a little pep in your child's step this year, cool and cozy shoes are a staple on all back-to-school shopping lists for good reason. (Plus, it's fun to compare them to last year's shoes to see how much your kid has grown!)

$19.99

Anything-but-basic blouses

H&M girls blouse

Whether in the classroom or showing up for a video call with the class, a styling blouse or button-down shirt is a great way for your student to comfortably dress up the day. Better yet? Style doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort with so many made-to-move tops designed just for kids.

$14.99

A shirt ready to go whatever the day holds

H&M boys shirt

With "going to school" meaning anything from showing up in the classroom to doing a virtual session, it's important to have clothes that are perfect for anything the day holds. A classic, cotton shirt with a fashion-forward design is a great way to keep your student feeling ready to start the year with an A+ attitude.

$9.99

This article was sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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