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.

You might also like:

In This Article

    You will always be their safe space, mama

    You are their haven. Their harbor. Their sanctuary, their peace. You are comfort. Deep breaths. Hugs and back rubs. You're a resting place, a nightmare chaser, a healer. You are the calm within their storm. You are their mother.

    To your child, you are safety. You are security. You are where (out of anyone or any place), they can come undone. Where they can let it all out, let it all go. Where they meltdown, break down, scream, cry, push.

    Where they can say—"I AM NOT OKAY!"

    Where they can totally lose it. Without judgment or fear or shame.

    Because they know you'll listen. They know you'll hear them. That you will help piece the mess back together.

    Keep reading Show less

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    Jennifer Garner’s pumpkin pic has people thinking she’s pregnant at 48

    "What what?!?!? You're pregnant?!?!?" wrote one commenter.

    Jennifer Garner/Instagram

    When you look at this Jack-o-lantern what do you see?

    Some of Jennifer Garner's Instagram followers say a pregnancy announcement,'s just a cute pumpkin.

    "When you and your jack-o'lantern share a vibe," she captioned this selfie.

    The pregnancy comments started rolling in quickly.

    "I thought this was a pregnancy announcement for a hot second 😭😂" one commenter wrote.

    Another asked: "What what?!?!? You're pregnant?!?!?"

    As her comment section started to flood with baby emojis, Garner had to clap back.

    "STILL NOT HAVING MORE BABIES," she wrote. "Good grief, I didn't even see it, I just saw matching smiles."

    Keep reading Show less