BENBROOK, Texas -- A firefighter and his physician's assistant wife nearly lost their 2-year-old son to drowning and now the Benbrook couple has decided to go public with their near tragedy to implore other parents to get the life-saving training that enabled them to bring their son back.
It happened July 1. Daniel and Laura White were at a friend's lake-side home in Azle with their two young children. They'd gone swimming in a backyard pool, the parents close by, the children wearing floatation devices.
But when the floatation devices were removed so everyone could go inside for lunch, 2-year-old Owen slipped back outside unnoticed. Moments later Laura White saw her son floating face down, lifeless, in the pool.
“The guilt has been heavy at times," she said. “It’s just like a shock through my body that just makes me sink thinking about what I saw."
Laura started CPR the second a friend pulled Owen from the pool. Other friends screamed for help from Daniel White who was in the front yard helping ready a boat for a day on the lake.
"He was deep blue, without pulse," he said when he reached the back yard. “Having seen that countless times in the past, my hopes weren’t high.”
He cleared vomit from his son's throat and nose, continued CPR and began breathing for him.
"And he slowly started to breath. And I picked him up and ran to the front yard to be there when paramedics arrived."
“So when I walked to the front yard and I could hear him (Owen) screaming for Mommy, you know that’s when I knew that he was alive," Laura White said.
Although Laura White is a physician’s assistant she'd never performed CPR before. In fact she had a refresher course just three weeks earlier.
“My wife’s actions decidedly influenced this outcome," Daniel White said in praise of his wife. "And we wouldn’t be having the same conversation if it weren’t for what she did.”
So with their son saved, released from the hospital that same day with no apparent injuries from his near drowning, they took to social media in a Facebook post that beings with "we almost lost our son."
The post implores other parents to get the necessary training to be ready in the event of a similar emergency. Already this year in Texas, 49 children have died by drowning. On average nearly 100 children die by drowning in the state each year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control drownings are a leading cause of injury and death for young children ages 1 to 14. It is the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of five. Owen was lucky. It was training his parents already had.
“Despite your best efforts, they can and will slip through your fingers,” they wrote in the Facebook post. “Risks surround us and life is fragile. Do yourself and someone else a favor and equip yourself with the most basic skills to influence an outcome. Learn CPR and give a tragedy a fighting chance.”
“It happened to us, it can happen to anyone," Daniel White said. "We’re strict parents we would say. Yet he slipped through. By virtue of our professions we received this training. Others will have to seek it. So seek it.”
If you would like to learn more about CPR and where to get training click here.