Matthew and Melody Donadio have a hard time keeping their three-year-old daughter Brooklyn in her car seat.
Brooklyn squirms to get free.
Melody told INSIDE EDITION, “She is a Houdini.”
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While returning from a party outside Tampa, Florida, Brooklyn wiggled her way out of her car seat and climbed into the front seat. Then, she playfully wrapped the seat belt around her mom’s neck.
“She was pulling the front of this. I felt her going this like with the thing kept messing with it,” said Melody.
When Melody turned to put Brooklyn in the backseat, the seat belt suddenly tightened around the mom’s neck.
She said, “I was basically up like this up at the window. I couldn’t breathe.”
Melody found herself in a life and death struggle. Her husband tried, but couldn't loosen the belt.
He said, “It just kept getting tighter and tighter.”
Frantic, he pulled off the road and with precious seconds ticking, Matthew signaled passing cars for help.
“I'm over here yelling, jumping up and down, screaming ‘Help!,’” he said.
Melody was unconscious and had stopped breathing.
Matthew said, “She was hunched over like this, her face was purple.”
As luck would have it, Florida State Trooper Brad Wagner spotted Matthew on the side of the road and pulled over.
Officer Wagner said, “I heard him distinctly saying, ‘My wife is dying.’”
The trooper raced to the car.
Officer Wagner said, “I looked at her face and I knew right then she was in grave danger.”
Unable to loosen the belt, he reached for the knife in his vest and cut the seat belt.
Melody admitted, “The officer saved my life."
Three-year-old Brooklyn clearly meant no harm, but the couple has this lesson to share with parents everywhere.
Melody said, “Don’t play with seat belt is the lesson. I'm definitely lucky to be alive.”