The Most Dangerous Place in Your Home for Toddlers

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Published May 18, 2017,

By Christine King

A one-year-old girl was found unresponsive on Tuesday in a bucket of water in the backyard of her north Phoenix, Arizona, home. Her parents are gardeners — and had accidentally left the bucket out.

Phoenix fire officials said the parents performed CPR on their child before crews arrived. Sadly, the child had no pulse. She was immediately taken to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and was listed in extremely critical condition. Officials reported she regained her pulse at the hospital, and last night the hospital still had the child listed in “extremely critical condition.”

This is a frightening tragedy for any family. Children that young are top-heavy and have little-to-no upper body strength. Joe Lang, a fire rescue driver and engineer in Delray Beach, Florida, told LifeZette, “It only takes a second of a child being out of your sight range for something terrible to happen.””Respiratory complications are usually the main problem.”

He continued, “Every minute counts and the clock is ticking.” In the case of the one-year-old, no one can say how long she was underwater. Lang said, “We can lose a child within two to three minutes in these circumstances.”

He expressed the heightened level of danger in South Florida, considering the amount of surrounding water. He also stressed paying close attention to other household elements, such as the toilet. “We’ve had numerous calls about children who were unconscious from reaching their head into the toilet.”

He encouraged all safety measures, including a lock for the toilet lid as well as the standard locked fence around the pool.

Kevin Saxton, Delray Beach’s fire rescue captain, agreed: “Children proportionately are top-heavy and are susceptible to dangerous water incidents. Respiratory complications are usually the main problem. With no pulse, the child goes into cardiac arrest and whether on site or in the hospital, we try to breathe for them, including inserting a tube into their trachea.”

He explained that the “breathing tube is a measure taken to control the child’s airway and avoid aspiration, pneumonia, infection and other complications.”

LifeZette spoke to Sergeant Johnathan Howard of the Phoenix Police Department on Wednesday about the child in Phoenix. He reported, “As of 8:40 a.m. PST, the hospital is optimistic she’ll survive.”

He, too, reinforced the importance of safety measures for parents such as those outlined by the Delray Beach Fire Rescue.

There are many lessons here. Be aware of the location of your children at all times. Consult with the fire department or a safety analyst to be sure your home is on lockdown for little ones. Every parent should know CPR and renew the certification regularly, as protocols frequently change. Consider purchasing an AED — automated external defibrillator — for your home. It’s very simple to use. Once the pads are placed on the patient and the machine is turned on, the machine guides the user through each step.

Remember procedural order. If you’re alone, call 911 first and begin CPR immediately. If you’re with others, begin CPR while someone else calls 911 and then gets the AED. As Lang stressed, “Every second counts.”

We pray for this little girl and her swift recovery.