Doctors offer prevention tips after two near-drownings in Memphis

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Swimming pools can be fun for children, but can also be very dangerous. Monday, Dr. Mark Bugnitz at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center said he has dealt with his share of drownings.

"We've had probably maybe just three or four since Christmas, but the weather just started getting warm," he said. "We'll probably see between five and 10 a year."

Two near-drownings over the weekend have doctors warning parents to be extra careful.  A 16-month-old toddler was hospitalized Saturday morning after nearly drowning in his family's backyard pool in Cordova.  That night, a nurse visiting a Memphis hotel pool helped save an 11-year-old by using C. P. R.

"The biggest problem with near-drowning is the brain injury, and there's really no technology," Bugnitz said. "The kind of injury you get from drowning is lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain, and there's nothing we currently have that really helps that."

According to Safe Kids Mid-South, active adult supervision is the key to preventing a tragedy. The organization urges parents to:

  • Designate an adult "Water Watcher" to actively supervise children in or around water
  • Empty and turn over all water containers
  • Teach children to swim when they're ready
  • Teach children to never run, push or jump on others in the water
  • Teach children never to swim alone
  • Be sure there are covers over pool and spa drains
  • Keep a life jacket and telephone at poolside in case of an emergency

"I always recommend to friends and people who ask me, the only truly safe way of keeping your child from drowning in a pool is to not have one until they are water safe," Bugnitz said.

Safe Kids also recommends parents put up a fence to separate their house from the pool.

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