Seconds count in a water emergency

Daniel Baker

Summer and water go hand in hand in Wisconsin. Whether you plan to spend time at a community or backyard pool or on a lake, it’s important for parents, caregivers and children to know how to stay safe in and around water — and that seconds count in a water emergency.

Julie Baker of Franksville, Wis., learned that first-hand the day her son Daniel nearly drowned. Here is Daniel’s story:

June 9, 2012 is a date forever etched in my memory. It was a hot summer night, and our friends invited us over for a quick swim. The kids were swimming and splashing, and we parents were enjoying our conversation. I kept my eye on my three-year-old son, Daniel, who was on the steps in the pool splashing around happily. The next thing I knew, my older son was screaming for help and Daniel was lifeless under the water.

My daughter and I ran to the pool, pulled Daniel out and ran him up to the house where there was light. I saw that he was not breathing and his lips were blue. Our friend Scott ran out of the house and began performing CPR on my little boy while his wife called 9-1-1. The whole situation was so surreal, and I was absolutely paralyzed with fear. Daniel began shallow breathing, and the paramedics arrived to transport us to the hospital. Once assessed at our local emergency room, it was quickly determined that he should be transported to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for care. We spent the night in the Children’s Intensive Care Unit, and thankfully, he was released the next day. Daniel is now a healthy, happy five-year-old boy who loves the water and is happiest when he’s in it.

I urge all parents and caregivers to take water safety very seriously and to learn CPR and what to do in a water emergency. Medical experts say seconds count, and I can attest to the fact that Daniel would not be here today if it were not for our dear friends who acted quickly and saved his life.

Safety tips to help keep your children safe around water

Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy ProgramPractice caution when in or near water

  • Children always should swim with adult supervision
  • Enroll children in swim lessons to teach them water safety
  • Make sure that approved personal flotation devices (life jackets) are worn at all times while in or on the water
  • Teach children not to play near creeks, drainage ditches or other bodies of water
  • Enclose pools and spas completely with a barrier

Maintain constant supervision

  • Drowning usually happens quickly and silently when most children were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water
  • Block access to unguarded, non-designated swimming areas

 Know how to respond to a water emergency

  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1
  • Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn what to do. Insist that baby sitters, grandparents and other caregivers know these lifesaving skills

For more safety and prevention information, visit KohlsSafeandHealthy.com.

Jane Howard- Jane Howard, community outreach supervisor, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Kohl’s Cares® share the mission of keeping kids in our community safe, healthy and injury free. The Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy program provides a trusted educational resource for safety in the home, outdoors and on the go. The more families know about safety and injury prevention, the healthier they can be.


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