DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado mother wants all parents to heed her warning after her 5-year-old nearly strangled herself in the seat belt of her family’s minivan.
From toddlers to teenagers, children are somehow getting tangled up with seat belts around their necks.
Baylor Clark, of Centennial, still has marks around her neck from when she got caught in the seat belt.
The 5-year-old’s mom, Sally Clark, said she was literally getting strangled by the seat belt.
“Her face started to turn purple so it was at a really bad point when we were finally able to cut the belt off her neck,” said Clark.
It happened while she was in the school parking lot and another car was coming as she was putting Baylor inside. Clark said she slid the minivan door shut and chatted with her friend.
“It was probably another 10 minutes, we think about 10 minutes,” said Clark’s friend Amiee Svenneby.
That’s when Clark looked through the rear side window.
“She was still, she was more still, more still than she should’ve been and I must have seen the seat belt at that point and I thought, I thought at that point she was dead,” said Clark.
Baylor was tangled between two seat belts in the back seat. They were wrapped around her neck. But she was breathing.
“Your first inclination as a parent is to go right for the problem and try to untwist it but the more we did that the tighter it got,” said Svenneby.
Svenneby ran into the school and grabbed a pair of scissors. Clark sliced through the belt and Baylor was free.
“The first thing she said to me was, ‘Mommy, why didn’t you come right away when I needed you?’ and that was probably one of the hardest things,” said Clark. “Because she could see me, I was right there.”
The National Highway Safety Administration reports more than 30 children have been cut loose from seat belts that have become wrapped around their necks since 1998.
Kidsandcars.org reports at least 12 people have been killed by hanging seat belts.
“We’re encouraging people to put (seat belt cutters) in their cars now,” said Clark.
Seat belt cutters are sold online from $3 to $40. Scissors will also work to slice through a seat belt.