HUNTINGTON BEACH — A safety strap designed to keep a baby secured in a highchair formed a noose around an 8-month-old boy's neck when he fell Saturday, nearly strangling him, police said.
The baby, who was not identified, was reported in critical condition Saturday at Children's Hospital of Orange County, a hospital spokeswoman said. Police Sgt. T. Swan said it took doctors more than an hour to revive the infant, who was near death after being suspended by the safety strap. The baby had been left unattended for 20 minutes, but it was not known how long his neck was caught in the strap, Swan said.
"This was a nightmare," said paramedic Dave Ferguson, one of four emergency medical technicians who responded to the call. "You always hate to see something like this happen, especially around this time of year."
Police were still investigating the incident late Saturday and details remained sketchy. However, according to investigators, the 1 p.m. incident occurred just after the baby's father had finished feeding him his lunch. With the boy fastened into his highchair in the kitchen, the father went out to the garage located next to the kitchen door.
The baby, who was secured in the chair with a restraining strap around his lower hips, apparently slid under the feeding tray, catching his neck in the strap. Police said the strap was probably too loose.
"He (the father) was out there for about 20 minutes," Swan said. "I'm sure he didn't realize how long he had been out there."
When the father returned to the kitchen, he found the lifeless baby, his neck trapped in the restraining belt, Swan said. He said paramedics rushed the child to Pacifica Hospital in Huntington Beach. After doctors revived him, he was transferred to Children's Hospital.