She was left unsupervised for just minutes and now a 5-year-old Lubbock girl is in critical condition at University Medical Center. Alanis Tijerina-Caraveo was at a birthday party in the 500 block of 78th Street Sunday afternoon. Adults there were playing volleyball and didn't realize Alanis was under water until it was too late. Her mother found her at the bottom of an in-ground pool. Another adult gave Alanis CPR and got a pulse.
Children can lose consciouness under water in two-minutes and within five minutes, brain damage can occur. Family members tell NewsChannel 11 Alanis was under water five to ten minutes. But they say a recent EKG did show some brain activity.
We went to the Texas Tech Aquatics Center and they tell us the right precautions can make tragedies like this one preventable. Constant adult supervision is key. TTU Aquatics Director, Melissa Hogle, says, "Realize a pool, while it's fun and safe, it's still a dangerous situation."
Hogle says anytime you're having a pool party for kids, there are several steps you can take to prevent drowning. She explains, "You can call any pool and see if they have a student or a lifeguard that would come out for just an evening and cover that with them."
Hogle recommends taking a pre-emtpive strike, enroll your kids in swimming lessons. Not only will they be more likely to stay afloat, they'll know better how to handle a fall and other pool accidents. It's also important to know their swimming abilities. Hogle says, "You may think they're a great swimmer, when in reality they're not, so know your child."
No matter how many precautions parents take, Hogle says at no time should children 3, 4 to 5 years of age be without adult supervision. She adds, "There's nothing like a parent watching a child. Lifeguards are watching 25 children which means your child is getting 1/25th of their attention."
For those brief moments when you're not watching, Hogle says swimsuits with built in flotation devices or Coast Guard approved life jackets are the next best thing. She says, "Arm floaties, I call them the 'Wings of Death'. They pop, they fall off. I think they're horrible and unreliable and for you to just put them on your child and throw in pool I think is a really bad idea."
Accidents do happen no matter how much you try to prevent them. That's why it is crucial for parents to know CPR. One short class could be the difference between life or death.