Mother saves drowning toddler with CPR

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: A mother saved her 2-year-old son from drowning in a backyard pool by performing CPR.

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – It’s one of the most frightening positions a parent can find themselves. A mother grabbed her unresponsive child from underneath the water in a pool, Wednesday, June 19, and brought him back to life using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). 

Deputies were dispatched at about 4:09 p.m. to a residence on E. U.S. Highway 70 regarding a 2-year-old involved in a near-drowning.

Upon arrival, paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance were ready to transport the male victim and his mother to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for evaluation. At that time, the boy was awake and responding. 

According to statements from the boy’s mother and his aunt, the aunt was in the pool with the boy and two other children and was showing another child a video on how to dive when the boy tipped over in his flotation device. The mother – who was outside of the pool – said she saw her son upside down in the water with his legs out of the water and not moving. 

The mother grabbed her son out of the pool and began giving light chest compressions. She then placed him on the ground and gave rescue breaths. Soon after, the boy spit up some water and began to breathe again. 

The boy was examined at the hospital, which found nothing strange about the incident and advised that an X-Ray showed no damage to his chest or ribs from the compressions. 

According to a 2018 report in the Arizona Republic, children in Arizona between the ages of 1 and 4 are drowning at nearly two times the national rate. The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona listed 33 of a total of 56 water-related incidents in 2018 were children under the age of 5, with three out of a total of 11 fatalities.

The coalition and First Things First encourage parents and caretakers of children under 5 to follow the ABCs of pool safety to prevent drownings.

A for adult supervision

  • A sober adult must always be with children around water.
  • The adult must watch swimmers with their eyes and not be doing anything else.
  • They shouldn’t be reading, talking on the phone, or doing chores like yard work or washing the car.

B for barriers

  • Make sure your pool and/or spa has an effective barrier, such as a fence to help guard against unauthorized access.
  • Your pool or spa should have a barrier regardless of whether they are covered.
  • Door and windows leading to the pool areas should be locked.
  • Fence gates should have self-closing, self-latching mechanisms.  Latches need to be out of reach of young children.

C for Coast Guard approved life vests and classes

  • Anyone who does not know how to swim must wear a Coast Guard approved life vest. Floaties and toys do not count as a life vest.
  • Everyone should take swimming lessons to learn how to swim.
  • Learn how to administer CPR, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and other lifesaving techniques. To administer CPR correctly you must be properly trained.

Other Pool Safety Tips

  • Do not allow children to play in or around the pool area.
  • Mount life-saving devices near the pool.
  • Keep tables, chairs, and ladders away from pool fences.
  • Check the placement of doggie doors for direct access to pool areas.
  • Post your local emergency number on the phone.  Think about installing a phone near the pool area.

If you find a child in any source of water:

  • Yell for help and pull the child out of the water.
  • Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately!
  • Begin CPR if you are trained.
  • If you are not trained to administer CPR, follow the instructions from the 9-1-1 operator until help arrives.