Girls quick thinking saves little boy

Published 1:31 pm Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tragedy was averted Sunday afternoon by the brave actions of a 10 year-old girl at a Poplarville home where children were spending the day by the pool at their grandmother’s house.

After taking his floaties off 3 year-old Brayden Murphy jumped off the pool’s diving board. He sunk to the bottom. Murphy’s mother, Alicia, said her son knows not to take his floaties off, but he must have taken them off when she went to the bathroom.

“He’s not afraid of the water at all, but he always had his floaties on,” Alicia Murphy said.

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Another mother was also supervising and checking to see the small children had their floatation devices on but at that time she went in to get a drink, said Brayden’s grandmother, Dawn Cacioppo.

Brayden was estimated to have been underwater for a total of two to three minutes. Doctors told Alicia Murphy usually being under water that long causes brain damage.

Luckily one of the other children saw him jump into the pool without his floaties on, sink to the bottom and not come back up. That child told Cacioppo what had happened. Cacioppo said she became upset and called for help because she can’t swim.

“I knew I couldn’t swim so if I had jumped in we both would have drowned,” Dawn Cacioppo said.

Instead she called out to another grandchild who was close by, Bailey Cacioppo. Bailey, fully clothed since she was not swimming that day, jumped into the water after young Murphy.

“We don’t know how she did it but she did,” Alicia said.

When Bailey pulled Brayden up Dawn said she was hoping to hear the sounds of Brayden coughing or crying. Instead he was limp, had no heartbeat and had a bluish tint to his skin.

Bailey said after she got Murphy out of the pool by herself Alicia took him.

“He had been under for a couple of minutes already,” Bailey Cacioppo said.

Dawn said three adults then performed CPR on Murphy. Two of them, Brandon and Bernard Cacioppo, took turns with chest compressions while Mike Netto conducted mouth to mouth. Alicia estimates that CPR was conducted on Brayden for about three minutes.

Bailey said it took a couple of minutes of CPR but eventually Brayden began to cough, vomit and then breathe on his own. Brayden came to just as emergency responders came on scene, Dawn Cacioppo said. The EMTs intibated Murphy to help him breathe and took him to the hospital.

Chief Deputy Shane Tucker with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department said Murphy was transported to Highland Community Hospital and then to NorthShore Regional Medical Center.

“The very next day he got sent home. I’m telling you it’s a miracle,” Dawn said.

Even after the whole ordeal Alicia said Brayden is ready to go swimming again.

“I think I’m more traumatized than him,” Alicia said.

Alicia said the doctors told her that Brayden is lucky and is back to normal with no signs of brain damage.

Pool safety is critical when small children are around. Even though a number of adults were around during this incident, it shows just how quickly a child can come into danger while swimming. Picayune Fire Marshal Pat Weaver suggests the best thing to help keep children safe during pool activities is keen supervision. While floaties are meant to help children learn to swim, even if they are wearing them, they do not keep a child 100 percent safe, he said.

Small children are safer swimming in the shallow ends of the pool and all children can benefit from using a buddy system, Weaver said.

To keep children safe when adults are not watching the pool there are tools that can help. Weaver said a fence with child safe locks will keep children from gaining access to the pool when adults are not around. Also special sensors can be installed in pools that detect waves caused by movement in the pool. Those sensors come equipped with alarms that tell adults someone has entered the pool without their knowledge.