'His face was blue': mum warns parents of yoga swing danger after son's near death

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied 

It's an image mum Lauren Neven says will be etched into her mind for years to come - her 12-year-old boy hanging from a swing in her yard, his face blue.

The incident has left the Victorian family traumatised and almost resulted in the loss of their son Kalem, who is now slowly recovering from the physical and psychological impacts.

Mrs Neven is now pushing for the Vuly Yoga Swing to be recalled - and is urging parents not to become complacent. 

Speaking to Essential Kids, Mrs Neven of Bairnsdale Victoria, says the aftermath of the June 8 accident has been a rollercoaster.

"It's a very up and down environment at the moment," she says, adding that she wants to ensure no other parent experiences what she and her husband Mark have been through.

Last week, in a harrowing Facebook post, Mrs Neven shared the details of the day she almost lost her son, describing it as "hell".

"You would think that at the age of 12, it would be OK, safe, to allow your child to play on their equipment in the backyard, unsupervised," she writes. "But today we learned that no matter their age, no matter how safe you THINK they are, that is not always the case."

Mrs Neven was inside when she heard her son's friend Hunter yelling her name. "Something is wrong, come quick," he said.

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"What I find, I don't wish for any parent to see," Mrs Neven continues. "I see my precious boy, hanging from the yoga swing. It is wrapped around his neck and he is hardly moving."

Mrs Neven screamed. 

"I don't remember getting to him from the back deck, but his face, his face is something I will have etched into my mind for a long time to come," she says.

"This is graphic," Mrs Neven goes on to explain. "This is raw. Because I need you to understand how quickly life can change."

Kalem's face was blue she continues, and he is "foaming at the mouth. He is staring blankly at me. He's alive. He's still with me. But he's not conscious."

The swing was around his neck, twisted five times.

"I lift him up. I have no idea how, and scream as I unwrap the material from my baby's neck," she writes. "It's off! He's limp. I shake him and scream and he talks! He breathes. The shock sets in."

As she and her husband sobbed, the couple's neighbour called an ambulance. Kalem was flown to Melbourne by helicopter where he underwent a CT scan and was examined by specialists.

"We are so lucky," she says."The words 'you nearly lost him and that was extremely close Lauren' from doctors, plays over and over in my head."

And while the mum admits we can't wrap our kids in bubble wrap, she's urging parents not to become complacent.

"For the love of god, please please don't allow your child to use a yoga swing unsupervised ... or at all!!! An innocent sitting on it and twisting, to his feet slipping and it catching his neck, could have seen us lose our child.We were lucky. The yoga swing is gone, in the bin at the hospital, but we are all traumatised and I'm telling you from one parent to another- this is not something I would wish on my worst enemy."

Mrs Neven told Essential Kids that she was contacted by Vuly following the accident and that the swing has since been removed from the site. But while consumers who purchased the swing were sent an email about the incident along with a YouTube demonstration about safe installation, she says friends who have also purchased the swing haven't received it. The YouTube clip  has since been removed.

"There needs to be a safety recall on these devices. There was no possible way we could have removed it," she notes, adding that in the clip the man "fumbles to unlatch it."

"It took two of us to release Kalem."

In a statement issued to Essential Kids on Wednesday, a spokesperson from Vuly said they were investigating the incident.

"At Vuly Play, we are dedicated to designing and offering products of the highest safety standards, so that children and families can enjoy fun and active play without concerns for safety. We issue detailed written safety instructions with all of our products, as well as installation videos on our website. 

"We are concerned about a recent incident involving the Yoga swing in Victoria. Vuly has sold many thousands of Yoga Swings without any incident to date. We are taking the Victorian incident very seriously and are conducting a full and thorough investigation. As a precaution, we have temporarily stopped sales of the product, removed it from our website and advised resellers to also stop sale of the product, until our investigation is complete. We have also issued a safety reminder to all existing customers.

"The safety of our customers and their families is of the utmost importance to us. We will keep you updated on the outcome of our investigation."

Mrs Neven told Essential Kids that while she is pleased the company is taking further action, she is frustrated that it has taken so long. "It's been more than a week," she says. "In this time consumers who were not on social media or received emails were not aware of the incident ... that's over a week of potential accidents."

The family are also hoping their pleas will be heard by other organisations selling similar products. 

"We are advocating for Vuly to lead the way so that other companies will take on board what's happened and make changes to their equipment."

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