Off-Duty N.J. Officer Saves Boy Who Nearly Drowned During Pool Party

WYCKOFF, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A family in New Jersey is feeling lucky after a police officer saved a young boy who nearly drowned during a pool party.

Sgt. Michael Graham was off duty but happened to be attending the same party Sunday. He said another adult pulled the boy from the water.

“The child was unresponsive, not breathing, and his lips were blue. I immediately began CPR,” Graham told CBS2’s Cindy Hsu. “After that, he started to vomit the water that was swallowed.”

“In 20 to 60 seconds, a child can go from just having fun in the water to active drowning,” Renee Caporeale, of Goldfish Swim School, explained.

It looks and sounds nothing like what we see on television, Hsu reported. A swimming instructor demonstrated what drowning actually looks like.

“Typically, a drowning person has their head back, eyes wide open in a look of surprise, or eyes very tightly, clenched shut,” Caporeale said.

As for warning signs, look for hair over their forehead or eyes. They’re normally vertical in the water, with arms moving a lot under water, but their body is not moving forward. You may hear gasping or nothing at all.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 750 children likely to drown next year, about half of them will do so within 25 yards of an adult.

Children need to learn what to do if they accidentally fall into the water. Teach them to turn around, grab the side of the pool and pull themselves out. Remember: elbow, elbow, belly, knees. They’re lifesaving skills you can practice at home.

“Jump off the couch, turn around, swim back to the couch and grab onto it,” Caporeale suggested.

Teach them to crab walk along the side of the poll and be able to roll onto their backs and relax. But the big one is they need to respect the water.

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs
Bloomberg WCBS Tri-State Business Index

Watch & Listen LIVE