Swim instructor gives tips on how to keep kids safe in the water

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:32 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A 10-year-old girl is fighting for her life after a trip to Oceans of Fun Tuesday.

The 500,000-gallon pool gets to 4.5 feet at its deepest, but it takes just one inch of water for something like this to happen.

Stephanie Craig was at the park’s Coconut Cove with her two kids Tuesday when she heard a commotion.

“It was scary,” Craig said. “The whistles were going crazy. So, I knew something– You know, we had been there quite a few times when incidents had happened and that’s when they blew the whistles. All I saw was people just charging.”

A lifeguard pulled the young girl out of the water. Park EMS performed CPR until medical crews arrived and took her to Children’s Mercy, where she remains in critical condition.

Certified lifeguard instructor and Assistant General Manager of the Goldfish Swim School in Overland Park, Emily Pinnell, said drownings can happen in the shallowest of water and happen fast.

“It can happen in the blink of an eye,” Pinnell said. “It can be as deep as one inch. It doesn’t take very much water. Any size and shape is definitely dangerous.”

Drownings are the leading cause of accidental death of kids ages zero to four, but Pinnell warns this can happen to anyone and preparation is key.

“Make sure they’ve got the foundation of those safety skills– what to do when they fall into the water. Whether it’s turn on their back or turning to grab the wall they fell from,” Pinnell said. “Those safety skills can really help a kiddo, even as you get into those preteen years, with what to do when they get into a dangerous water issue. Drowning doesn’t just stop at age four. It happens to anyone and everyone.”

KCTV5 asked the park about its current staffing numbers. A spokesperson declined comment.