Mother preaches safety when it comes to children and seat belts

Little 7-year-old Makena is always playing - any and everything is a toy. Even a seat belt.

One local mom says she's sharing her story in the hopes that other parents have the right conversation with their kids about how a seatbelt might choke them.

Keeping up is tough. Blink and she's off. Makena Kolinski is always on the move.

"Basically this whole forest is an obstacle course," she said about the trees surrounding her home.

"She's seven going on 25," said her mom Cindy Kolinski.

While Makena was still playing like she always does this past Wednesday - but this time she was sitting in the backseat of her mom's car with her older sister Emma.

"She was taking her seat belt - making headbands with it saying, 'I'm a mummy,'" says Emma. "I told her multiple times don't do that." 

"It dropped below her chin," Cindy says. "When I braked it became a noose."

"I put my hands under the seatbelt so she could get a gasp of air," Emma said.

Even in that moment Makena found her words.

"She said 'call the police' in a whisper," her mother says.

Her mom pulled over on Interstate 70 near Interstate 25 in Denver.

"There wasn't enough give to pull it and release her," she says.

So Denver Fire had to cut the seat belt to free her.  

"You could barely put your finger in there. Her neck was turning red," says Makena's mom.

The whole ordeal lasted less than 10 minutes.

"It felt like a long time - I felt I could have lost my sister," Emma says.

And that's why they are sharing what happened.

"I always said buckle up and make sure it's tight," says Cindy. "I never had the conversation, shame on me, saying don't pull it out and play with it."

Under Colorado law, kids are supposed to be in booster seats until they are eight. Height and weight play a  role in when they are ready for a normal seat belt.

Cindy says Makena is too big for a booster seat, and even with one, kids can still pull out the seat belt and hurt themselves.

For her, ultimately, it's more improtant to share what happened to help other families. Police and EMS did not need to be called to the scene and Makena is OK.  

Cindy started taking the photos to show her husband, who wasn't with them, and is also using them to raise awareness.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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