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  • Heather Murray

Sunday Survival Story: Never Off Duty from Water Safety

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Parents Preventing Childhood Drownings presents Sunday Survival Stories: Never Off Duty from Water Safety

Every Sunday, we will share a story of a non-lethal drowning, discuss where things went wrong, and give some pointers on how to prevent it from happening to the people you love. Thankfully, these stories have happy endings for those involved, but sadly, we lose too many people to drowning every year. We hope examining these real-life stories help put the dangers of water into perspective and help you introduce various principles of water safety to your family!

It was a day of celebration, as little 7-year-old Kasen enjoyed a swimming birthday party at a local pool. At some point, his parents leave for a quick trip to Walmart, and the unthinkable happens. He slips quietly underwater. Thankfully, off-duty officer Whitni Pena and a friend are also at the pool, and Pena is trained in CPR.

It is scary how close this day of celebration could have become a day of mourning. There are many factors that everyone enjoying a day of swimming should be aware of and prepared for from this case. To begin with, swimmers should ALWAYS have a swim buddy in the water with them in case of an emergency and a Water Watcher should always be on duty to watch children swim. A surprising number of drownings happen at large gatherings. We feel safer with the larger number of people around and fall into a false sense of security. However, while everyone believes someone else is watching out for danger, in reality, no one is watching. Everyone relaxes in the friendly atmosphere and dangers remain lurking in the water. Make sure you designate a watcher while people are swimming.

If you find you need to leave the water area during a swim session, please do not leave your children behind, no matter how short the time period may be or how close the destination is. Drowning can happen in less than 60 seconds. Just running into the house to answer a phone call or welcome another guest provides enough time for a tragedy to occur.

Luckily for Kasen, the swim party he attended was also attended by Officer Pena and her friend, who reacted quickly to pull Kasen out of the water and start CPR. CPR- cardiopulmonary resuscitation- is commonly credited with being the life and death factor for surviving drowning. The more quickly CPR is performed after a water recovery, the better the chance of the victim’s survival. Do you know CPR? If not, Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning would like to challenge you to get CPR trained before your next swim experience! Classes are commonly provided by the American Red Cross and local non-profits. Get CPR trained today and always be prepared if needed. We are never off duty from water safety.

We are thankful to Officer Pena and her friend for their quick response and rescue of Kasen, and hope Kasen remembers water safety the next time he goes for a swim! We hope Kasen inspires you to be safer the next time you swim as well. Have fun, be safe, and learn CPR!

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