Albertville family hopes to use their daughter’s near-deadly drowning accident to teach others how to save lives

Northeast Alabama
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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – The CDC reports that children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rate, and one family in Albertville says they know that statistic too well.

The Baugh family was supposed to have a relaxing Memorial Day by the pool, but almost a year later, Keith Baugh says the memories from that day are anything but relaxing.

Keith says he got out of the pool for just a minute, and quickly realized his daughter, Savannah, wasn’t in the shallow end.

“I asked one of my sisters-in-law, I said ‘Where’d Savannah go? Have you seen Savannah?’ and she said, ‘Well maybe she went around the house with aunt Drew’ and so I started to go around the house and then my other brother and sister-in-law saw her in the pool. The deep end of the pool,” explained Keith.

Savannah had slipped on the ledge from the shallow end to the deep end and Keith says she had been at the bottom of the deep end for almost a minute.

“I got her out of the pool and could tell she was in bad shape, she was… she was blue,” said Keith.

The Baugh family says without Keith’s CPR training, Savannah’s “near-fatal drowning accident” would have been deadly, but Keith says she’s alive today because of God.

“God controlled all of my actions that day. This was a tremendous blessing but at the same time it’s been hard,” said Keith.

And Katie, Savannah’s mom, says they never expected this to happen to them.

“You think things are never going to happen to you, it’s just like anything, you think that stuff is not going to happen to you but the one time it does… you know, if you know CPR you could really save your child or save someone you love,” said Katie.

So because of the accident, the Baugh family is holding an event called ‘Savannah Smiles’ to share their story, teach others about water safety and show how critical CPR can be in these moments.

All they want is for at least a few people to learn CPR from the event.

Keith says it took the ambulance six minutes to get to the house. If he wasn’t there, Savannah would’ve gone at least six minutes without oxygen. Katie says it only takes a minute for someone to drown.

“Drowning happens so quickly. It can happen just from looking at your phone for a minute; running to the bathroom for a minute, it happens so fast,” said Katie.

But today, Savannah is jumping into the water and not afraid to make a splash, as long as she can touch the floor.

“She said she wanted to go swimming but she didn’t want to go to the deep end because she didn’t want to get sick again,” said Keith.

Keith says it only took three weeks after the accident for Savannah to get back into the water.

And while Savannah has regained her confidence around water. her parents are confident that the CPR skills they have to teach will help others protect the ones they love.

‘Savannah Smiles’ is open to anyone who’s interested in learning water safety tips and CPR from local firefighters.

The event is on Sunday, June 2nd from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and to find out more about the event you can go to the Facebook page here.

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