Harris County has more drowning deaths for individuals under the age of 18 than any other county in Texas.
The day Kenna and Mike Swaim discovered their 22-month-old daughter, Kaitlyn, gray, still, and lifeless in the backyard pool was the best and worst day of their lives.
On a wintry day in January, Kenna set their toddler on the living room floor while she went to the bedroom to get a clean shirt. She stopped and asked Mike a quick question before returning to the baby.
The next thing Mike heard was Kenna frantically calling their daughter’s name. Searching the house, Kenna realized their dogs had pushed open both the gate and the metal barrier to the pool. In horror and shock, she found their baby girl floating face down in the pool.
Harris County has more drowning deaths for individuals under the age of 18 than any other county in Texas. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, drowning is the nation’s leading cause of death for children ages one to four, and the second for kids ages five to 14.
On Tuesday, April 1 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital, in partnership with Katy Aquatics, invites the community to April Pools Day, a two-hour event designed to teach young children about water safety; raise awareness of the hazards associated with water; and to prevent drowning, not only in pools, but bathtubs, buckets, and all bodies of water.
Taking place outside Memorial Hermann Katy at 23900 Katy Freeway, the free event includes games, food, information booths, giveaways, demonstrations, static displays of fire engines and a Memorial Hermann Life Flight® helicopter. All members of the public are invited to attend.
While Kenna raced to call 911, Mike examined Kaitlyn. She was not breathing and had no heartbeat. With no training in CPR except what he had seen on TV, Mike began chest compressions along with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. After a few heavy breaths and several chest compressions, Kaitlyn violently threw up and gave a guttural groan.
“They were the most glorious sounds I have ever heard,” said Mike. “We put her in swim lessons the next day.”
Kaitlyn completely recovered from her non-fatal drowning. Today, 12 years later, she is a record-setting swimmer for three swim teams.
Mike and Kenna learned many lessons from that awful and wonderful day.
“No matter how many barriers you have, and we had two, a child can get past them,” said Kenna. “Drowning is a completely silent event, almost every time.”
“Learn CPR today. You may save a member of your own family, you may save a member of someone else’s family, you may save a complete stranger. This is an important life skill,” said Mike. “Teach your children to swim. It may provide them the time they need to allow you to reach them, or it may allow them to save themselves.”