A terrified mum has spoken of the horror of watching her daughter hang motionless by her NECK during a freak accident at a climbing wall.
Katie Jarvis, eight, lost consciousness while scaling the children’s attraction, after the strap from her helmet got stuck in the equipment.
Mum Tracy, 46, watched on as neck strap tightened and almost “throttled” the youngster.
She said: “I turned to see Katie unconscious, hanging by her neck, it was horrific.
“She was hanging with her whole body weight on her neck, and it made her pass out.
“She was basically being throttled, it was horrendous.
“Katie just looked like a rag doll, she was not breathing, when we got her down she was pale and clammy.”
The family were enjoying a day out at the £7.50 a person, Fun Factory in Rochford, Essex, which caters for children up to the age of 13, when Katie got into difficulty while coming down from her second fall.
She slipped and fell, sparking the safety harness system to kick in.
But as it span her away from the wall, her helmet got caught on a hand grip.
Katie later told Tracy: “I tried to call for you mummy, but I could not get the words out”.
Fortunately, the youngster was spotted by a member of staff who had been helping other children get into their harnesses at the time of the accident.
She was put into the recovery position and later regained consciousness, before being offered her a free juice and wet tissues by staff at the Fun Factory.
But Tracy was horrified that staff didn’t call an ambulance and instead took Katie to Southend hospital’s A&E department herself – where doctors were shocked to learn Katie had not been given a neck brace after suffering a neck injury.
“I was in a panic and didn’t think, I know I should not have moved her but I was in a state of shock,” said Tracy.
“It could have been much worse, if she had been at the top we would not have been able to reach her without climbing up the wall.”
Katie has been left unable to fully move her neck due to the pain and has night terrors and anxiety after the incident on Saturday, which has left her with whiplash.
Now Mrs Jarvis and her cab driving husband Stephen, 64, are calling on changes to the safety rules surrounding the use of climbing walls.
They want climbing walls which use harnesses to only use helmets which have straps which release under pressure – to prevent strangulation.
Tracey added: “They have collars for cats which have this technology, it is to stop them hanging themselves when they get caught on things, these helmets should have similar features to prevent anything like this happening.”
A spokesman for the Fun Factory said: “We are extremely concerned about the incident which happened this weekend.
“The Fun Factory is a family-run business. “We have an excellent safety record and are fully compliant with all necessary current regulations and have procedures in place that over and above what is required.”
The company is investigating the incident with council health and safety officers and intends to publish a report.