As the weather heats up in Southern California so does the risk of drowning. Drowning is the second leading cause of fatalities in the pediatric population and it is well known that about 20% of these drowning occur in the presence of an adult or care provider.
The overriding emphasis should be focused on primary prevention. Should these measures fail, the immediate focus is on CPR, well before the arrival of the paramedics.
A recent study, published by the Department of Emergency Medicine at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW, Australia tends to confirm what is already well established. Bystander CPR is a major factor for a good outcome in near-drowning episodes.
During an 11 day period in January, 2007 (their Summer), eight children experienced drowning or near-drowning events. Four of the victims received CPR within 5 minutes of immersion and survived with good functional neurological outcomes (no brain damage). The other four were not discovered for over 5 minutes, and all of these children died.
Experts in the field of emergency medicine acknowledge that survival of drowning victims is usually a result of immediate CPR, prior to the arrival of paramedics. Many of those who survive are already conscious and breathing by the time an emergency responder arrives.
IF ALONE WITH A DROWNING VICTIM
If we hope to give the victim a chance of survival, CPR needs to be started IMMEDIATELY upon getting the victim out of the water. IF ALONE with the victim, perform CPR for at least 2 minutes before attempting to call 9-1-1. The current CPR guideline for drowning victims is 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths. This is the same technique for victims on dry land.
Remember, the key emphasis is always on prevention. The gold standard of safety with babies & children is to remain within arms reach and always focused on them.
Have a safe and fun season! Richard Pass, RN, BS
Richard Pass is the Program & Course Director for Save A Little Life. His experience •includes many years as a clinical practitioner in critical care areas, including many years in large emergency departments. He has been a basic and advanced CPR instructor for about 25 years.
Save A Little Life began when Richard decided it was time to take a simple, yet quality educational program into the community. His affiliation with the American Heart Association and continued focus on the latest CPR related science makes the Save A Little Life course a most current and modern approach to these life-saving skills. Richard has served as a clinical instructor of nursing at California State University Northridge since 2008.