Maryland Boy is Almost Strangled to Death by Seat Belt

A 5-year-old Maryland boy sustained critical injuries after the seat belt he was using got caught around his neck. The incident occurred in Prince George’s County on I-95 at around 6p on Monday evening. The child, DeAndre Harris, is in very serious condition at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC.

A Maryland State Police trooper arrived at the scene after DeAndre’s mother, Yuko Harris, contacted 911. The trooper used a knife to cut the seat belt and administered CPR to DeAndre, who did not have a pulse. His heart started beating again while he was being transported to Laurel Hospital. He was later flow to the District.

Maryland State Police have impounded Harris’s vehicle, a Honda CRV. They do not know how the seat belt became wrapped around the 5-year-old’s neck to cut off his circulation. Although DeAndre is just 5, he was not sitting in a booster seat, which is required for kids under age 8 when riding in motor vehicles.

Seat Belt Injuries

Seat belts are supposed to keep a vehicle occupant securely fastened in the event of an auto crash. While seat belt injuries can occur as a result of user error, there are those injuries that can arise because of a defect in the seat belt’s design or an error that occurred during manufacturing. Such defects can pose a serious injury hazard during a motor vehicle crash and be grounds for a products liability claim or wrongful death lawsuit.

Examples of seat belt defects include:

• Latching defects
• Broken or cracked buckle release buttons
• Too much seat belt slack
• Webbing defects
• Skip lock defects

Seat belts can pose a strangulation hazard if used incorrectly or made defectively.

Boy, 5, is critical after seat belt cuts off breathing, Baltimore Sun, December 16, 2008
Boy, 5, Riding With Family on I-95 Is Critically Injured by Seat Belt, Washington Post, December 7, 2008

Related Web Resource:

Maryland’s Child Passenger Safety Laws, Maryland State Highway Administration

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