By Kelcie Willis

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

RICHMOND, Va. — A 6-year-old girl in Richmond, Virginia, is recovering after a Sept. 17 car accident left her stomach sliced open and the object meant to protect her is to blame.

CBS News reported that Samantha Swartwout was in the back seat of a car being driven by her father when the car went off the road and crashed into a tree.

The impact of the crash led the seat belt to split open her abdomen. The shoulder of the belt was behind Samantha’s back and the lap of the seat belt was across her stomach.

“The child is thrown forward with an absolutely enormous force,” Dr. Charles Bagwell, chair of pediatric surgery at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University, told “The seat belt almost acts like a knife.”

Bagwell cared for Samantha in the three weeks she was in the hospital.

“Her intestines were out on scene on the left side,” Samantha’s mother, Shelly Martin, said.

Samantha suffered a concussion, a deep cut in her stomach and needed stitches on her forehead — all things her mother said could have been prevented if she was in a booster seat, which Samantha’s father forgot, Today reported.

“She would not have been this hurt in a booster,” Martin told CBS News. “Don’t think that just because your child is 7 or 8 years that they are too big… they aren’t!”

“It takes two seconds to put a booster seat in the car and to strap your child in,” Martin told “It is going to save somebody.”

CBS News reported that Samantha was released from the hospital in October.

“She has so many limitations,” Martin told Today. “She’ll try to build a fort with her blankets but she can’t because she can’t bend over. She will cry; ‘How can other kids do this?’ and ‘When will I be normal?'”

Martin said her daughter is “seeing a psychology doctor for possible PTSD.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Samantha’s medical costs. Over $2,000 has been raised toward its $10,000 goal.

Mother shares important warning after seat belt slices daughter like a knife

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