Editorial: Close call at the pool
Abby Thompson had a terrifyingly close call with drowning in a neighborhood swimming pool last week ó the kind of close call that should serve as a blaring summer reminder about the need for vigilance whenever you combine kids with pools, ponds or lakes and the importance of knowing basic CPR procedures.
As the incident involving the 4-year-old girl shows, it takes a few scant seconds for a splashing good time to turn into a nightmarish ordeal, and it happens all too often. Accidental drowning remains the second-leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only motor vehicles claim more young lives each year.
Of the 3,582 accidental drownings recorded in the United States in 2005, more than 25 percent involved children 14 or younger. What’s more, almost 20 percent of those drowning deaths involved children in public pools with a lifeguard present, according to the CDC. That should tell you how quickly a child can slip from view and slide under the water at a busy pool, even with watchful adults nearby and a trained lifeguard on duty. Having grownups in proximity is no guarantee an accident won’t occur.
Thankfully, Abby’s father pulled her from the water and Trooper Jack Dixon was able to administer life-saving CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) quickly enough to revive the girl and avoid serious, longterm injury. Without that quick action, this story might well have had a heartbreaking conclusion. In fact, this is the second recent local incident where knowledge of emergency procedures apparently saved a life. In the previous case, workers at the Hurley Y intervened to resuscitate a teenager who collapsed during a basketball game.
As we wade into the busiest weeks of the summer vacation and swim season, we can’t overstate the importance of vigilant pool-side supervision and the immediate availability of CPR. In the time it might take for paramedics to arrive at the scene, CPR skills could provide the margin of survival. Basic CPR routines are easy to learn and administer. The E.H. Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross regularly offers classes in CPR certification or re-certification. (For information about the classes, call 704-633-3854).
It only takes a few hours of your time to learn CPR or take a refresher course. As Abby Thompson can tell you, that small investment of time could make a life-saving difference.