Local mom warns parents after saving her 8-year-old son from seat belt strangulation

Local mom warns parents after saving her 8-year-old son from seat belt strangulation

BEDFORD, Mass. — Siobhan Sherbovich panicked when she saw her 8-year-old son Brayden choking in the back seat while she was driving.

“We’re stopped at a red light in the middle of Bedford center, and he just (said in a) raspy voice, ‘Mom I can’t breathe,’" said Sherbovich.

“Before I could even process anything, he was basically hanging from the ceiling, unconscious, blue as can be, there was blood coming out from the pressure, and I looked, he was gone,” said Sherbovich.

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Sherbovich then stopped at the intersection of Great Road and South Road in Bedford, where she saw a hair salon.

According to Bedford Police, on Saturday they were dispatched to the area for a report of a child choking inside a car. When they arrived on scene, officers spoke with Sherbovich. She found that her son wrapped the seatbelt around his neck apparently “activating the belt’s locking mechanism.”

Sherbovich banged on the windows and asked them for a pair of scissors to cut her son free from the seatbelt.

“I get everything off his neck, he is so, so blue, and I just start performing CPR, don’t ask me when or how I remember to do that but I did it,” said Sherbovich.

While she performed CPR, bystanders called 911.

“The actions of the mom were nothing short of heroic,” said Chief Robert Bongiorno, with the Bedford Police Department.

Police say as soon as paramedics arrived, Brayden was breathing again.

He then spent the night at MGH, and luckily he’s doing just fine.

This is something Chief Bongiorno has never seen before.

“I’ve been a police officer for 31 years, I have two young boys at home, and it never dawned on me to carry a pair of scissors in the car,” said Chief Bongiorno.

That’s exactly why Sherbovich is sharing her story.

She hopes all parents will now carry a safety kit with scissors in their cars.

“I want parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, I want people to be prepared and have seatbelt cutters in their cars because if I had had that, probably we wouldn’t have gotten that experience,” said Sherbovich. “And other people wouldn’t have to see anybody basically hang themselves from something that is supposed to protect them.”

Bedford Public Safety officials also shared the following safety guidelines from the National Highway Safety Administration:

- Use a booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder seat belts until your child passes the following Seat Belt Fit Test:

- Your children’s knees should bend at the edge of the vehicle seat when their backs and bottoms are against the vehicle seat back; and

- The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs; and

- The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest. Children are usually between 8 and 12 years old when the seat belt fits them properly.

- Once your children pass the Seat Belt Fit Test, teach them the importance of using seat belts on every ride, whether they’re with you or not. This is a habit you can instill at an early age. If they learn this lesson early, they’ll be more likely to buckle up when they’re older or when you’re not around.

- Kids tend to slouch or lean against the windows during the drive, but it makes a difference in terms of safety. Have your children sit upright when using seat belt.

- There are also safety tools available in the event of an emergency, including tools that can break a window or cut a seat belt that are available online or at any automotive shop or hardware retailer.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of the story stated that the mother didn’t know how the incident happened. The story has been updated to include information from Bedford Police’s press release.