Lifeguards: Parents Are First Defense to Prevent Child Drownings

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Lifeguards at a West Des Moines pool are being called heroes for saving a young boy's life.

A 4-year-old boy is home with his family after nearly drowning at the Valley View Aquatic Center on Tuesday. If it weren’t for the quick thinking of the pool's lifeguards, this story could have had a tragic ending.

“In that specific situation, it was a lot of instinct and reflexes from previous trainings,” said lifeguard Carter White.

Carter white has been a lifeguard for four years and is prepared for the worst-case scenarios.  He is one of the lifeguards who helped rescue the child from the bottom of the kiddie pool.

Rescue crews say the boy was swimming in about four feet of water, and he was under the water for about two minutes. Once crews were able to pull him out of the pool, they performed CPR and had him breathing before medics arrived.

While parents at the pool appreciate the lifeguard’s efforts, they say parents should remember lifeguards are the second set of eyes on the water and the parents should be the primary set of eyes.

“If I’m not watching them, I’m not comfortable. That’s my job as a mother, to take care of my kids,” said Kristin Malake, of Norwalk.

“That can so easily happen even when its gets as crowded as it gets. It makes me a little nervous. I tend to be a little more anxious in the water and making sure that my kids are OK,” said Stephanie Guthrie.

The majority of drownings happen within about 10 feet from safety or a parent. The aquatic center stresses that parents stay about an arm’s length away from their child.

"Always be there with your kids. Never let them out of your sight," White said.

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