Swimming lessons turned tragic misadventure after toddler drowns

Swimming lessons turned tragic misadventure after toddler drowns

The boy and his eight-year-old brother went to the pool for a lesson with their father—a lifeguard and private swimming coach.

The death of a three-year-old boy in Singapore’s Tampines Swimming Complex highlights the importance of constant supervision when it comes to children and water.

The coroner who handled the case called the incident a “tragic incident.”

According to a Straits Times report, the boy and his eight-year-old brother went to the pool for a lesson with their father—a lifeguard and private swimming coach.

“The two boys are believed to have gone to a meter-deep learners’ pool without their father when the younger sibling—who was about the same height as the pool—got into difficulties.”

Another patron at the establishment named Joseph Tongson saw the boy’s body, face down and motionless in the water.

The 39-year-old man pulled the boy's body at the side of the pool before shouting for help; two passers-by and a lifeguard came to their aid.

Joseph and the boy’s 59-year-old father were among those who performed CPR on the boy before the paramedics came and rushed him to the Changi general Hospital.

The boy was then transferred to KK Women's and Children's Hospital for further specialised care. Unfortunately, he died the following day from lack of oxygen to the brain due to water immersion.

"Prompt administration of CPR had saved many individuals from drowning, although not in this case, possibly due to a long time lapse between his initial submersion and his discovery," said State Coroner Marvin Bay.

He also said that there was no reason to suspect foul play, and that the CPR was administered in a timely manner by the lifeguards.

 

How to administer CPR

Being able to correctly administer CPR to those who need it could be the difference between life and death. Here are some guidelines from NHS Choices on how:

Hands-only CPR

  • Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers.
  • Position yourself with your shoulders above your hands.
  • Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 5-6cm (2-2.5 inches) on their chest.
  • Keeping your hands on their chest, release the compression and allow the chest to return to its original position.
  • Repeat these compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times per minute until an ambulance arrives or you become exhausted.

CPR with rescue breaths

If you have previous knowledge or taining in CPR including rescue breaths and are confident enough to use your skill, you should give chest compressions with rescue breaths.

For Adults

  • Place the heel of your hand on the centre of the person's chest, then place the other hand on top and press down by 5-6cm (2-2.5 inches) at a steady rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  • After every 30 chest compressions, give two rescue breaths.
  • Tilt the casualty's head gently and lift the chin up with two fingers. Pinch the person’s nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth for about one second. Check that their chest rises. Give two rescue breaths.
  • Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

Children over one-year-old

  • Open the child's airway by placing one hand on the child’s forehead and gently tilting their head back and lifting the chin. Remove any visible obstructions from the mouth and nose.
  • Pinch their nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth, checking that their chest rises. Give five initial rescue breaths.
  • Place the heel of one hand on the centre of their chest and push down by 5cm (about two inches), which is approximately one-third of the chest diameter. The quality (depth) of chest compressions is very important. Use two hands if you can't achieve a depth of 5cm using one hand.
  • After every 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute, give two breaths.
  • Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

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Written by

James Martinez

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