Two workers honored for saving boy’s life at pool
Pool co-manager hopes incident serves as reminder of the importance of pool safety
Kutztown Borough Council honored two Kutztown Swimming Pool employees for their fast-acting contributions that saved a toddler’s life at the end of this summer.
A co-manager and a head lifeguard for the Kutztown Swimming Pool were thanked and commended at the September Kutztown Borough Council meeting for their life-saving actions that saved the life of a child who was less than 3 years old following an Aug. 26 incident.
Lisa Reilly, the co-manager on scene at the time of the incident, says that her CPR training has paid off after not having to use them in a life-threatening incident in her 18 years of pool managing.
At about 1 p.m. both were made aware of the situation when a mother pulled “the limp and ashen body of a small boy” from the water. According to Reilly, Eigenbrod applied three rounds of compressions, which caused the child to regurgitate some water, only to lose consciousness again. The child recovered and expelled the rest of the water after another round of chest compressions.
The Kutztown Police, Kutztown Fire Department and a Northeastern Berks EMS were on scene shortly after the child regained consciousness.
Both Reilly and Eigenbrod reacted promptly to the situation, but in retrospect both agree that it could have been avoided, they express the importance of pool safety.
“Children need supervision at all times, especially those not wearing flotation devices,” said Reilly. “They move quickly and have no fear. As a Body Zone swim instructor in the off season, I can’t stress enough to parents the importance of swim lessons and more importantly a child should be water safe. It is a parents’ responsibility to watch their child, be in the water with them and put them in life jackets. Too often lifeguards are seen as babysitters and this should not be the case.”
Like Reilly, Eigenbrod also works at Body Zone as a swim instructor.
“This entire ordeal could have been prevented,” said Eigenbrod. “I would first off like to say that the ultimate responsibility falls onto the parents. They’re the ones that know the abilities of their child. So if the child doesn’t know how to swim, putting them in some sort of floatation device should be done before the child is out of sight from them. Secondly, swim lessons are a great idea to have children learn how to help themselves in a troublesome situation.”
Swimming is not just dangerous for children; everyone should mind their surroundings when in the water.
“No amount of skill can ensure your safety,” said Eigenbrod. “I strongly encourage people to swim with friends, or for parents to pair their children up. This is so that if, god forbid, there is an incident, somebody can go get help.”
The incident is seen as not only a lesson for swimmers, but for lifeguards as well.
“That day was also very hard for the guards that were working,” said Reilly. “They all were first-year guards who realized that being a lifeguard is not just about sitting in the stand working on their tan, it’s about scanning the pool effectively and always looking at the bottom of the pool for anything that just doesn’t seem right.”
Thanks to the efforts and fast actions of Reilly and Eigenbrod, the child made a full recovery and celebrated his third birthday in the weeks following the September Borough Council meeting.
“The Kutztown pool also offers swim lessons, which are free to those who purchase a pool pass,” said Eigenbrod. “Swimming can be a lot of fun, but it only takes a split second for something tragic to occur. For that reason, it’s important that we have respect for the water and to avoid becoming complacent.”
Above, Patrick Eigenbrod, head lifeguard (middle), is joined by Boy Scout Troop 101 while Kutztown Mayor Sandy Green, left, recognizes him during the September Kutztown Borough Council meeting. Eigenbrod was honored for his actions that saved a boy at...
Left, Lisa Reilly, Kutztown Pool Co-Manager, with Kutztown Mayor Sandy Green during the September Kutztown Borough Council meeting. Reilly was honored for her actions that saved a boy at Kutztown Pool.