FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - A deputy is being honored for his efforts to save the life of a toddler, and now is working to help train others in the community to perform CPR in similar emergencies.
Deputy First Class Mike Nelson said he heard piercing screams from one side of his neighborhood pool party, shortly after he arrived.
"The mother and the father started screaming, 'Somebody help! We need help!'" said Nelson, who was at his community pool in his Forsyth County neighborhood.
His neighbors and good friends had found their daughter, who had just turned two, at the bottom of the pool.
"His daughter was not breathing and was blue in the face," Nelson said, who helped the father pull the girl out of the pool, and immediately started CPR.
Nelson has been certified for more than 15 years, since his days as a lifeguard as a teenager. The toddler, however, was the youngest person for whom he had ever performed CPR. He believed the little girl was underwater for around two minutes and vowed to perform CPR until paramedics arrived. Nelson said he performed CPR for more than two minutes, before a breakthrough.
"She started spitting up... and she started crying. [I felt] a big sense of relief. A sense of joy," Nelson said, grateful he was able to save the life of a child, and the daughter of his friend.
Nelson received a Life-Saving Award and medal from the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office for his service. He now plans to organize summer CPR classes for neighbors at the community pool, to make sure that at least one adult trained in CPR is present at all times.
"Kids are going to be kids. Sometimes accidents happen. The better-prepared people can be, the better chance of something like this [outcome], where everything turns out with a positive note," Nelson said.
The Georgia Department of Health has also released other swimming safety tips for parents, online:
- Younger children require "touch supervision," or must stay within arm’s reach at all times.
- Evaluate your own and your child's swimming ability, and take swimming lessons to benefit the whole family.
- Make sure there are barriers or fences around a pool.
- Always be aware of where flotation devices, lifesaving equipment, and a pole are located.