July 9, 2010


COLUMBIA, Tenn. – According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14. Maury Regional Medical Center Emergency Medical Services (EMS) offers pool safety protocols for children and explains the importance of knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to assist people of all ages.

“Accidental drowning can cause a child to lose consciousness in the time it takes a parent to run inside to answer a ringing phone. Taking proper precautions when near any body of water is essential in keeping your loved ones safe,” said Danny Fleming, assistant director of EMS.

Fleming offers the following water safety tips:

  • Never leave a child unsupervised in or near a body of water, even for a moment. Keep infants, toddlers and weak swimmers within an arm’s length at all times.
  • Teach children to swim at an early age.
  • If you have a swimming pool at home, install a four-sided fence to limit unwanted access. Motion detectors and underwater wave detectors are also available.
  • Never leave floats, balls or toys near an unattended pool. The presence of these items may entice children to enter the pool area unsupervised or lean over the pool and accidentally fall in.
  • Avoid being involved in distracting activities such as reading, using the phone or listening to an iPod while supervising children.
  • Learn CPR to better know what to do in case of an emergency.

In recent years, men were found to be approximately three times more likely than women to die from unintentional drownings in the United States. Similarly, fatal drownings are notably higher among African Americans.

“For people of all ages, knowing CPR can make a difference in saving a person’s life,” said Fleming. “Research has shown that CPR can double a person’s chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest. To be properly trained in this life-saving technique, people should attend a course taught by a certified CPR instructor.”

In the case of a potential drowning, have someone call for emergency medical assistance immediately. As you wait for paramedics to arrive, begin CPR by first ensuring that nothing is blocking the person’s airway. Water in the lungs does not obstruct CPR and should not delay resuscitation. If there is no possibility of neck injury, place one hand on the forehead and the other under the chin, gently tilting the head back. Hold the nose shut, cover the mouth with your mouth and give two breaths, ensuring that the chest rises. Put the heel of one hand on the center of the chest and press down about two inches 30 times at a rate of a little less than two per second. If you feel the pulse return, continue with breaths only until the person regains consciousness or a rescue team arrives.