A true tale that could have ended in tragedy. Told to me by the woman that experienced it, a woman that I've known for most of my life. If you have small children, please read and take note.
Grandma left on a car trip yesterday with her 7 year old grand daughter, but did not get far before a truck accident blocked the highway, bringing traffic to a halt. Seeing that she would be there for a while, she took her small dog for a short walk to relieve himself, leaving her grand daughter in the car. Safe enough - she took the keys, locked the doors and would never be more than a few feet from the car.
Returning a few minutes later, she opened the door and put the dog inside, only to find that her grand daughter, idly playing with the seatbelt, had wrapped it around her own neck and was being strangled! Every effort the little girl made to free herself only tightened the belt; like a python every tiny bit of slack was immediately taken up and every movement simply tightened the belt a little more.
By the time Grandma got there the tension on the belt was too much to release the catch. Keep in mind that those catches are designed to withstand tons of force in an accident, but are also designed to be releasable while hanging from the belt if the car is upside down. Tension on the belt, wrapped around the girls neck, was more than the weight of a grown adult!
Grandma's frantic calls for help produced a trucker from the line of stalled cars that rushed over and, with a knife, sliced the belt in two but it was a very close thing. The little girl has marks all around her eyes, broken capillaries from being choked so hard - it's amazing that her neck wasn't broken.
I very frequently carry my small grandchildren in my car, but would never in a thousand years have thought something like this could happen. Needless to say, there is a box cutter in my glove box this morning; something capable of slicing a seat belt if necessary.
Horrific! Not something I would have anticipated happening. However, despite being one of life's disorganised people, I do always carry a pair of sharp scissors in my glove compartment, along with a ball of string (not sure how that fits in, but one day it may do).
Thanks for flagging this up, I'm going to be passing it on.
Wow. I will pass this on to my friends who have kids!
Just got off the phone with Grandma, and the girl is fine. Still has the broken capillaries around her eyes, but fine otherwise.
Interestingly, I found out that Grandma had a knife in the car - one of those things that will break a window or cut a belt - but it was in the drivers door compartment. She had gone to help and managed to get a hand inside the seatbelt before it tightened too far, but the girl was in the back seat, the knife in the front. She can't reach it!
Thank God for the trucker - without him I don't know where it would have gone. By the time he got there the girl couldn't talk or breathe, just gurgle a bit as the belt inexorably tightened up.
Again, glad she's okay! This is a good reminder for me to restock my car with an emergency kit. I had one in my old car, but when we traded it in I never put it in the new car. I can't take any chances with my two little ones!
While on the subject of these types of accidents, I heard of a case a few years ago of a small child who unfortunately died after becoming strangled by the looped cord on venetian blinds after he climbed onto a window sill. These cords should be kept well out of reach of small children.
Wow, this is a good safety warning to be pointing out Wilderness. I've always felt safety belts and children were an accident waiting to happen. I remember how hard it was to get a baby safety seat belt system that offered genuine protection.
What a terrifying experience! I am glad the little girl is alive after that close call. I never would have thought about the potential for a seat belt to strangle a child - I will be putting a box cutter into my glove box today.
I often worry about accidental hangings with the grandkids. My 9-yr-old granddaughter, Lexi, is fascinated with ropes and cords of all sorts. Every time I see her playing around with the dog leash, I think about our neighbor. When I was a little kid, our next-door-neighbor's son hanged himself while playing cowboy.
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