Drowning can happen silently and quickly - KMSP-TV

FOX Medical Team

Drowning can happen silently and quickly

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

If someone were drowning and needed help, you'd know it, right? Maybe not. Drowning is not like you see in the movies with a lot of splashing and calling for help.

Children can slip into the water without making a sound. That's what happened to 4-year-old Noah Webb.

Back in May, Noah and his mom were invited to a friend's neighborhood pool.

"I was putting sunscreen on my youngest son. I did that really quick -- two or three minutes, tops," said Abigail Webb. "Went over to the pool, was looking around for Noah, couldn't find him anywhere.  And that's when my friend's husband started screaming."

Noah had slipped to the bottom on the deep end, where he was unconscious, clutching a pair of sunglasses.

"So I'm thinking he looked down, saw the sunglasses, went down the steps, went underwater, got the sunglasses and when he came up, the water was over his head," said Abigail.

Fortunately for Noah, that pool had lifeguards who looked down as saw a little boy at the bottom of the pool who wasn't moving. One lifeguard called out to Greg Venezile, who leapt into action.

"I look at him for a second and I'm like, 'All right, all right, I've got to go get him,'" Venezile. "So I jump in, I picked him.  I put him on the cement, getting ready to check the pulse."

Abagail said, "When I looked over there, the lifeguards were surrounding him, and he was laying there, not moving, not breathing, just laying there lifeless."

"He was like a doll, like when you picked him up he was like that," said Greg.

Thanks to CPR and quick action, Noah survived.   

But Dr. Jim Fortenberry, the pediatrician-in-chief at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, says children can drown quickly and silently -- even with their parents nearby.

"We see situations where parents are at a pool, at a party, where a child goes under, and they're in a conversation right beside their child. So, it requires that kind of laser-like focus," Fortenberry said.

Dr. Fortenberry says if your child is in -- or even near the water -- stay focused on that child.   Don't talk on your cellphone, don't text and don't turn away -- even for a minute.

"The saddest part I hear from families who have lost a child to drowning is that feeling of, 'It was only a moment. He was there, and then he was gone,'" Fortenberry said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says young children like Noah are most likely to drown in backyard pools. Older children are at higher risk swimming in lakes, rivers and the ocean.

The CDC recommends teaching children to swim, learning CPR and use life-jackets on open water.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is asking parents to think of themselves as "water watchers."

  • More Health NewsMore>>

  • FOX Medical Team

    Easy 'fat burning' recipes

    Easy 'fat burning' recipes

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:40 AM EDT2014-07-24 11:40:05 GMT
    Here are the recipes from Nancy Waldeck of the Cancer Wellness Center of Piedmont Hospital.
    Here are the recipes from Nancy Waldeck of the Cancer Wellness Center of Piedmont Hospital.
  • Sandy Springs woman struggles with Alzheimer's diagnosis at 55

    Sandy Springs woman struggles with Alzheimer's diagnosis at 55

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:48:17 GMT
    The Alzheimer’s Association estimates about 200,000 Americans are living with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosed before their 65th birthday.
    The Alzheimer’s Association estimates about 200,000 Americans are living with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosed before their 65th birthday.
  • FOX Medical Team

    5 fat-burning foods you should try

    5 fat-burning foods you should try

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:19 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:19:49 GMT
    Tired of working out with no payoff, or counting calories and still not losing weight? Healthy chef Nancy Waldeck at the Family Wellness Center at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital pulled together five fat-burning foods you need to discover!
    Tired of working out with no payoff, or counting calories and still not losing weight? Healthy chef Nancy Waldeck at the Family Wellness Center at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital pulled together five fat-burning foods you need to discover!
  • CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL HEROESMore>>

  • Hospital Heroes

    Hospital Heroes

    Children's Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children's hospitals across the United States and Canada.  Click here for more on our local heroes!
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices