Fort Worth, Texas,
11:34 AM

The Life-saving Reasons Every Parent Should Know CPR

Physician outlines steps to needed to keep blood flowing to the brain

The summer has barely begun and we are already seeing a record number of drownings at Cook Children's.

Despite repeated calls from experts to lifeguard your child, 19 children have been rushed to Cook Children's for drownings and four children have died since May 1.

Corwin Warmink, M.D., medical director of Emergency Services at Cook Children’s, said parents and caregivers should take important steps to save their children from drowning, including taking CPR lessons.

"Seconds really do matter," Dr. Warmink said. "Quick, efficient CPR performed before EMS arrives has been shown to improve outcomes. Learning CPR should be an important part of any family's safety plan. You want to be prepared in critical situations."

Studies show CPR doubles the victim’s chance of survival. Learning CPR can save a child’s life by restoring breathing and circulation until advance life support can be given by health care providers. Please watch the following video from Steve Muyskens, M.D., medical director of the Cardiac MRI at Cook Children's.

Dr. Warmink describes drowning as the inability to breathe, normally due to submersion in a liquid, usually water. The outcome, including death, of the person who drowned depends on how long she or she is under water.

"Everything is based on getting oxygen to vital organs,” Dr. Warmink said. “The outcomes of drowning and the adverse effects are based on the lack of oxygen. The most effected parts of a drowning victim are the brain, lungs and the kidneys. The one that is most catastrophic and the one that will kill you is the brain.”

The amount of time children spend under the water while drowning usually determines their outcome. The lack of oxygen destroys brain cells and that causes damage to the brain, ranging from short term (forgetful, clumsy …) to severe (can’t walk to vegetative).

Dr. Warmink says there are several variables that shape how severe the brain damage will be, including how long the child was submerged in the water and how quickly he or she received CPR.

Once a child arrives at Cook Children’s Emergency Department, treatment begins that may include oxygen, X-rays, intubation or medication.

“But a lot of what we do is supportive care for the children that come in here,” Dr. Warmink said. “We may have to support their lungs because they have been damaged and they have difficulty breathing. Their kidneys could be damaged, so we will do lab work to see what’s going on there. But our biggest concern is the brain and honestly, there’s not a whole lot we can do. The vast majority of treatment for drowning is supportive. We see what we can do to keep that child alive. That said, the earlier you can intervene, the better. One of the things that helps outcomes is early, good CPR. By the time they get to us, it may be too late.”

Lifeguard Your Child 

It's time to make Texas #1 in drowning prevention. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4, and the second leading cause for kids 1-14 in Texas. But with your help, we can change that. Please join us in our drowning prevention effort. Together, we can Lifeguard Your Child around water.

Want to know how you can get involved or create an awareness campaign in your community? Contact Dana Walraven, Safe Kids Tarrant County coordinator at 682-885-1619 or email

To Prevent Your Child From Drowning



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