It started out as a typical day at Makayla Mayes’ McKinney home in November 2009, though things changed quickly. Makayla’s mom, Brittany, was pulling clothes out of the washing machine while 2-year-old Makayla played nearby. But as soon as Mom turned her back, the toddler crawled through the doggy door and into the backyard. When Brittany noticed Makayla was gone three minutes later, she immediately checked the family’s pool, where she found her only child had sunk to the bottom.
Brittany jumped in to rescue Makayla, who was in cardiac arrest. Makayla’s grandfather, who had stopped by to visit that day, began chest compressions and revived her before the paramedics arrived. She was flown to Children’s 10 minutes later on a CareFlite helicopter. For her next two days in the intensive care unit, a ventilator helped the little girl breathe and a special blanket regulated her temperature.
Kids involved in drowning-related incidents have a high probability for irreversible brain damage. But as the state’s first pediatric hospital with Level 1 Trauma status, Children’s has the experts and resources needed to care for them and in many cases prevent the worst health consequences. Children’s saw 81 kids for drowning-related incidents in 2011.
As soon as Makayla began breathing on her own, she told her mom that the family’s Labrador had knocked her into the water. Brittany immediately made plans to add a fence around their pool. “It takes only one minute for a child to drown. Because this can happen silently, parents should be vigilant about water safety,” says Claudia Romo, program manager of Injury Prevention at Children’s.
Makayla celebrated her third birthday just a couple of months later and has no lingering problems from the accident, not even a fear of water. “We know how lucky we are this didn’t turn out in a completely different way,” says Brittany.