Two recent near-drownings involving toddlers concern first responders in St. George

Southern Utah News

ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – As temperatures climb to sweltering levels in St. George, first responders are expressing concern with two recent near-drownings involving toddlers.

St. George Fire Battalion Chief Robert Hooper said both incidents occurred in public pools with many people around.

Emergency teams responded last Tuesday to a near-drowning at the Hyatt Place in St. George, where a 3-year-old was found unconscious and not breathing in the hotel’s pool. A bystander began chest compressions and rescue breathing until the child began showing signs of life within a few minutes, according to Hooper.

First responders rushed to another incident in early April, when a 3-year-old was swimming in the pool at the Bloomington County Club. Another bystander performed CPR until emergency personnel arrived, authorities said.

Washington County resident Shyann Brown says she went through a similar incident with her 5 year old son, after he had fallen into the pool fully clothed and unable to keep himself above water.

“My heart dropped and my stomach was in knots,” Brown said. “If it wasn’t for my older son that came running up and said, ‘Dylan’s in the pool,’ I don’t know what would’ve happened.”

Brown added that her son was bobbing up and down in the pool before her stepfather jumped in the water fully clothed to save him.

Hooper said that many have misconceptions about what drowning looks like in both adults and young children; while many believe those drowning may flail their arms or make a lot of noise, the battalion chief said it looks like the opposite.

“In general, drownings are silent killers,” Hooper said. “Both of these cases have proven that, as both children went underwater without anybody noticing.”

Hooper said prevention is key in these scenarios and parents should never assume that someone else is watching their child in the water. Authorities recommend that every parent learn CPR, as simply starting compressions on someone can nearly triple chances of survival.

In Utah, drowning is the third leading cause of death among children 17 and under, and the most common scenario involves a toddler wandering off during a weekend family gathering and falling into the water, according to data from the Utah Department of Health.

To learn about the signs of drowning, click here.

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