Become Your Family’s Shield
I’ll never forget the day my youngest son almost drowned. He was only four years old at the time, and while he wasn’t afraid of the water, he really didn’t know how to swim yet. We were at a pool party at one of our community pools, and both my sons were swimming with their dad in the shallowest part of the deep end, probably around four or five feet deep. My husband was holding both boys, splashing around and having an all-around good time. I was sitting on the edge of the pool watching them when my older son said he needed to go potty. My husband brought both boys over to the edge; my older son got out of the pool, and my younger son plopped down on the edge where I had just been sitting. Assuming that he was safe there since he was out of the pool and my husband was nearby, I walked away with my oldest to take him to the bathroom. It couldn’t have been more than two minutes when I heard the most terrifying sounds coming from outside. A high-pitched whistle, followed immediately by screams. I ran out of the bathroom in time to see the lifeguard diving off his stand to rescue a child that was in trouble. My child. Face down, floating inches away from where I’d just left him sitting moments before.
My husband had turned away for mere seconds. Just long enough for my son to reach for a pool toy and fall into the water. No one noticed the splashing right away due to all the other kids playing in the pool at the time. Thanks to the vigilance of the lifeguard, my son was not in the water very long. He was scared out of his mind and crying at the top of his lungs, meaning he was BREATHING. I’ve never been so grateful to hear my baby cry! Thankfully, my son was completely fine and has since learned to swim. As a result of this scare, we are all SO much more conscious of pool safety.
When I think back now to that terrifying day, I wonder what I would have done if that lifeguard wasn’t there or if we had been in our own pool and the worst had happened. What if my son HAD stopped breathing? Would I know what to do? I remember taking a CPR class as a teenager, but that was many years ago and I’ve since forgotten all the details. To ease my mind, I went online and did a search for CPR refreshers. I came across this great site from ACLS National that has a concise, easy-to-learn, and FREE six-step refresher for CPR, performing the Heimlich Maneuver for choking, and treating heat exhaustion. One of the things I like about this site is that they give comprehensive instructions for adults, children, and infants, all in one place. Plus, after you click through the refresher, there’s an excellent summary you can print out to keep with you at all times. In addition, ACLS National has provided three .jpg images of a red and blue shield with the words “CPR Ready. I am my family’s shield” that you can display on your website to encourage others to refresh their CPR knowledge and promote safety and proper CPR techniques.
While I will be eternally grateful for the quick response of the community’s lifeguard that day, I feel better knowing that I’m more prepared to be my family’s personal “lifeguard” in the future should the worst happen.