It was to be a fun long weekend for the Baugh family when festivities took a dangerous turn.

Keith Baugh and daughters Savannah and Lila were attending a Memorial Day family gathering at Keith’s brother’s home. Guests were swimming in the backyard pool when Savannah, age 4, accidently slid from the shallow end into the deep end.

“No one saw her go under and no one heard her, but they noticed she was missing pretty quickly,” said Savannah’s mother, Katie Baugh, a nurse who was working at the time of Savannah’s accident. “My husband called me from the ambulance to tell me what happened. I immediately left work and met them at Marshall Medical Center South.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day. Of those 10, two are children age 14 and younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S.

Savannah was underwater for about a minute before her cousins brought her to the surface. She was unresponsive, blue in color and not breathing. Her father immediately started rescue breathing, and after about 45 seconds, Savannah began breathing on her own and vomiting water.
“I want to encourage any person who has ever considered learning CPR to do so,” Katie said. “If my husband’s actions had not been so quick and effective, she may not be with us today.”

Savannah was later helicoptered to Children’s of Alabama by its Critical Care Transport team. Though a terrifying experience, Katie and her family found comfort in the expert and caring staff that took care of her daughter. After two days in the hospital, Savannah was discharged home and has experienced no complications.

“It was scary because we’d never been to the hospital for anything like this before, but we couldn’t have had a better outcome,” Katie said. “The staff was absolutely amazing. They were unbelievable.”