Port St. Lucie couple working to keep kids from drowning
By Will Greenlee and Megan V. Winslow
May 30, 2005
As summer's rising temperatures drive children to pools, a Treasure Coast couple is driving home the importance of supervision in hopes of preventing a tragedy.
Don and Amy Kryak began their Never Leave A Child Unattended campaign in 1993 after three drownings and five near-drownings.
"Too often when they do leave them unsupervised at a pool, the kids drown, and that's why this safety awareness campaign was conceived to begin with," said Don Kryak, a Port St. Lucie police captain. He said devices such as pool alarms, pool fences and water wings often give parents a false sense of security.
"That's a deadly assumption because batteries fail, safety systems fail," he said. "There's no substitute for supervision."
As an example of how an innocent outing can go awry, Kryak said his wife who has a communication, advertising and education background went to a children's birthday party where a mother dropped off her son and said the boy could swim. But when the child entered the pool's deep end, he panicked. Two women jumped in to retrieve him.
"Their response was so quick because of the supervision that it turned into a happy ending and lesson learned," he said. "Because of supervision, a tragedy was averted." Kryak also suggested that parents learn CPR. On June 4, Emergency Medical Consultants Inc. is offering a free CPR Course for parents hoping to safeguard their families before the summer swimming season begins. For every minute that goes by, the rate of survival of a person requiring CPR goes down by 10 percent, said Shaun Fix, Emergency Medical Consultants Inc. president.
"In children and infants, the real emphasis should be safety and prevention, but if, God forbid, something does happen, here's how to do CPR," Fix said.
The program, which will be taught by certified paramedics and nurses, is authorized through the American Heart Association. It is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, 1700 S. 23rd St., Fort Pierce. A similar program will be offered June 15 at the St. Lucie Medical Center, 1800 S.E. Tiffany Ave., Port St. Lucie.
Public response to the Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie classes will dictate their availability in the Stuart and Vero Beach areas, Fix said.
According to Florida Department of Health statistics, drowning is the No. 1 killer of Florida children 4 and younger. More than half of drownings among infants happen in bathtubs.
Some safety tips that could prevent a tragedy include:
• Keep a phone nearby for emergency calls not distracting conversations.
• Don't assume someone else is watching your children.
• At the beach or lake, know the surf or water conditions and the changes in the weather.
• Remember that a small child or toddler can drown in just inches of water.
• If kids are in the water, get in the water with them.
For more information go online to www.neverleaveachildunattended.org.
To register for an Emergency Medical Consultants Inc. program, please call (772) 878-3085.