American Morning

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May 28th, 2009
01:24 PM ET

How can I keep my toddler safe in the pool?

Dr. Gupta answers viewer questions every Thursday on CNN's "American Morning."

From Thespena in Crown Point, Indiana:

“My son is 3 this year and has outgrown the kiddie pool but I’m nervous about letting him swim in deeper water. I’ve heard toddlers can drown in water only a few inches deep. Is that true?”


Hi Thespena,

Thanks for asking this question. As a parent of three small children, I completely understand and share your apprehension. You want to do everything you can to keep your son safe, but at the same time to give him as many beautiful life experiences as possible, swimming being a great one (especially as we’re heading into summer).

You’re correct about the drowning hazards for toddlers. In fact, just one inch of water is enough for a toddler to drown in, according to Safe Kids USA Part of the reason is because their little bodies are top-heavy, so they have a harder time maintaining their balance and getting back up when they fall. Every year, more than 800 kids in the United States under age 14 die as a result of unintentional drowning. For your 3-year-old, his risk rate is double that of any other age group; children 4 and under actually have the single highest drowning death rate according to the National Safety Council.

But that doesn’t mean you have to keep your child out of the pool altogether. The number one thing you can do is to keep a close watch on what’s happening when your child is in the pool. Try to stay no more than an arms-length away. Unlike the way we see drownings depicted in the movies, there’s usually no prolonged flailing of arms and crying out – sadly, it’s usually very quick and quiet, so you can’t just rely on being in earshot. You have to keep your eyes on your son at all times.

Also, don’t rely on floats or any other swimming aid to keep your child safe because those are not meant to replace your own supervision and can give parents a false sense of security. When you feel he’s ready, you should start taking your son to swimming lessons. It’s a great source of exercise and fun for kids, and the sooner he becomes comfortable and skilled in the water, the safer he’ll be as he grows older.

Keep reading this story

Filed under: Dr. Gupta's Mailbag
May 28th, 2009
12:27 PM ET

Gay soldier appeals to Obama

Some of the demonstrators President Obama heard while in Los Angeles yesterday were demanding he make good on a campaign promise to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. You met the gay soldier who's leading the movement for change on "American Morning," and as CNN's Ted Rowlands tells us, he was there trying to get some face-time with the president.

Filed under: Gay Rights • Military
May 28th, 2009
12:16 PM ET

General Mandarin?

Longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader tells CNN the potential GM bankruptcy could put the car maker on the fast track to China. GM is already vying to become the number auto builder in the communist nation. Now GM has plans to expand its operations in China with hopes of importing cars back into the US.

Filed under: Business
May 28th, 2009
10:43 AM ET

Obama making Mideast peace a top priority

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Aaron David Miller tells CNN the Middle East peace process is going to be like a thousand days of root canals."]

President Obama is back in Washington today after a west coast tour. He is sitting down with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, trying to move forward with his Middle East peace plan.

Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to endorse a two-state solution during his visit to Washington. So is this part of the president's plan or is it dead in the water?

Aaron David Miller is a former Middle East negotiator and the author of "The Much Too Promised Land." He spoke to Rob Marciano on CNN’s “American Morning” Thurs

Rob Marciano: Give us the Palestinian and Israel cliff notes here. A 101 version of where the U.S. stands in their policy with that part of the Middle East.

Aaron David Miller: I think the reality is the Obama administration has decided to make this a top priority. I wasn't sure at first but there’s no question about it now. Governing is about choosing. It’s about trying to decide what’s important and what isn't. And the Obama administration has taken some important steps – appointing George Mitchell, changing their tone, early visits to Washington, the president's speech in Cairo. There’s no question they are going to seriously test the possibility that within the first or maybe second term, the administration can…help the Israeli and Palestinians reach an agreement.

Marciano: Arguably, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't have the power he once had and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may be in a similar situation. What does the president hope to accomplish with this meeting this week?

Miller: Well, he is going to sit down with a very pleasing, but largely powerless Palestinian president, really representing a kind of Palestinian “Humpy Dumpty.” Abbas, who represents Fatah, has the incentive to make peace with the Israelis but not the power. Hamas, on the other hand, has plenty of power but they lack the incentive. And this conundrum, this real problem is the one that the Obama administration is going to confront.

In today's meeting there will be three people in the room. There will be the president and there will be the Palestinian president and there is also going to be Benjamin Netanyahu. He won't be there in body but he'll be there in spirit. Because almost everything turns now, I suspect, on whether the administration can induce the Israelis to do things. And there's a sort of cruel asymmetry here. Very little will be expected from Mahmoud Abbas, because he's not capable of giving much. Much will be expected of the Israelis and you really are going to end up, I suspect, with a test of wills sooner rather than later.


Filed under: Middle East
May 28th, 2009
09:33 AM ET

Florida's 'pilot factory'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN's Allan Chernoff investigates the air school that trained pilots of three fatal crashes."]

By Allan Chernoff and Laura Dolan

(Ft. Lauderdale, FL) – A recent plane crash in Buffalo New York that killed some 50 people led to questions about the training of those in the cockpit. Those questions led CNN to The Gulfstream Training Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Academy promises to train amateur pilots who aspire to fly for a commercial airline in just three months. Students pay $30,000 in tuition and in return, the Academy provides cheap, co-pilots-in-training for Gulfstream International Airlines as they work to increase their hours of flying time.

Gulfstream promotes this part of their training on its website saying, "Gulfstream Training Academy's First Officer Program offers airline-bound aviation professionals training and experience at an actual airline flying real flights for Gulfstream International Airlines."

After 12 weeks of training, students serve as First Officers, also known as co-pilots, on Continental Connection flights in Florida and the Bahamas that are operated by Gulfstream International. They get 250 hours of paid on-the-job-training, in addition to the 300 hours they need to qualify for the program.

That's a red flag for veteran pilots like Pat Moore who find the training tactic questionable. "I don't know how they can market that as training for these co-pilots while at the same time providing revenue service for paying passengers."

Most major airlines require co-pilots to have a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time. That's three to five times the amount of some students entering Gulfstream's First Officer program.

"I really don't want somebody in the right seat that's just learning, that's gaining experience, said Moore. "I want an experienced crew. When I buy an airplane ticket, that's what I'm paying for." He compares it to going to a medical student for healthcare instead of a doctor.

Continental Airlines told CNN, "We expect our partners to adhere to the highest safety standards."


Filed under: Airline safety
May 28th, 2009
06:17 AM ET

What's on tap – Thursday, May 28, 2009

South Korean soldiers look at the North Korean side as they visit an observation post in Paju near the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas on May 27, 2009. Getty Images
South Korean soldiers look at the North Korean side as they visit an observation post in Paju near the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas on May 27, 2009. Getty Images

Good morning everyone. We have breaking news this morning: A serious jolt to the caribbean. A powerful 7.1 earthquake hit off the coast of Honduras within the past two hours. A tsunami watch was issued for Honduras, Belize and Guatemala. That watch has since been cancelled. So far there have been no reports of any damage or injuries.

There are several other big stories we'll be breaking down in the next 15 minutes. Including, a big thumbs-up for the U.S. economy. President Obama declaring the country is back from the brink of economic disaster... and Americans are calmer and more confident about the future. We'll break down what the economic booster shot could mean for your money and your future.

And this morning, an exclusive report into the questions that run through our minds when we fly. How competent is the crew? Are they trained to deal with an emergency? This morning we uncover so-called "pilot mills" and how getting "a quick ticket to the cockpit" is putting your safety at risk.

We're also following developing news overseas. U.S. and South Korean militaries are on heightened alert this morning. U.S. officials telling CNN the North appears to be preparing to restart generators at a nuclear plant used to make bomb-grade plutonium. All this playing out as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uses strong language to warn the communist regime it will face consequence

Filed under: What's On Tap