An alert boy, CPR to the rescue

By Walt Braun

Hurray for Dawson Adams, a fifth-grader who while celebrating his 11th birthday at the Clarion Hotel on New Year’s Eve helped save a 2-year-old girl’s life.

As a story in Sunday’s Mercury explained, Dawson saw something unusual at the bottom of the hotel pool, swam down to check it out and found the girl motionless. He was smart and strong enough to bring her to the surface. She was alive but unconscious.

Hurray also for Dawson’s aunt, who in the chaos of the moment knew to administer CPR, coaxing the little girl to cough up mouthfuls of water. Riley County EMS also responded quickly, and she was life-flighted to Kansas City, where doctors told her parents she was “doing great.”

Anybody who has reared young children knows how quickly they can disappear, how piercing the fear is and, when things turn out well,  how lucky they were.

This little girl and her family were lucky —and blessed — that Dawson happened to see her, acted with maturity beyond his years, and that Dawson’s aunt knew CPR. It took both to save the little girl.

As the girl’s mother said, “There are no words” to describe her gratitude for Dawson’s quick thinking. Dawson appropriately recognized the role his aunt’s knowledge of CPR played. “You’re helpless if you don’t know it.” he said. Without such knowledge, he added, “All you can do is watch…”

Knowing CPR might not sound as impressive as Dawson’s heroics, but had his aunt not known how to perform it, they all might have helplessly watched as the little girl died.

Fortunately, one needn’t be an EMT to know CPR or emergency first aid. In fact, just about anyone can learn it. UFM offers CPR classes, and Lafene Health Center offers CPR classes for people associated with Kansas State University. Mercy Regional Health Center also offers first aid classes for children, and the American Red Cross is among other agencies that offer CPR training.

The courses don’t take long, aren’t difficult and generally don’t cost much money. Chances are you’ll never need to use the knowledge you gain. But there are times when there is no substitute for such skills, and they won’t just be helpful, they’ll be life-saving.

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