Child Drowns In Port Charlotte Pool

May 29, 2006

By Barry Miller

Port Charlotte -
A Memorial Day weekend tragedy has the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office
investigating the death of the two-year old boy from Port Charlotte.

"Full of energy. You know you call him, he would come to you running," said
neighbor Maggie Velez. "Happy baby. he was just happy."

According to reportrs, the toddler fell and drown in his family's pool on
Ryals Street Saturday evening. Unlike other pools in the neighborhood, the
child's pool is not enclosed, but fencing materials lay in a trailer in the
family's driveway.

Family members grieved outside of the home. They did not want to speak
to WINK News on camera, but said that the death was a horrible accident.

Neighbors and other parents living on the street say the loss of any child
breaks their hearts.

"I was devastated. I can't begin to imagine what a parent would go through
when they get this bad news about a child. Even if it's not your own child.
Every child is your child," said Velez.

With tragedy, comes awareness. With the summer heat, and children out of
school, parents need to make sure they know where their children are at all

"When my grandkids come over, they don't go outside unless I'm outside. I
have a pool so if I'm out there, I'm out there with them," said Velez. "It
doesn't take long for a tragedy to happen."
Drowning dangers are ever-present for children
By Charlotte E. Tucker, USA TODAY
Lea Owens took her eyes off her 6-year-old son, Harley, only briefly. But in the three minutes that she was in the bathroom of her home
in North Augusta, S.C., Harley slipped out the back door and into the swimming pool, where he drowned.
"I came out of the bathroom and my other son said, 'Mom, I think Harley's in the pool. I see a head,' " Owens says. She jumped into the
pool and pulled Harley out, but it was too late. Doctors at a nearby hospital couldn't revive him.

It's a story that plays out every summer across the USA: As the weather gets warmer, families head to the water. And despite the
known dangers — drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children — a study released last week finds
that many parents are complacent when it comes to supervising their children.

The study, sponsored by the National Safe Kids Campaign and Johnson & Johnson, examined 496 accidental drownings in 2000 and
2001 and found that 88% of the children had been under adult supervision. But a survey of parents done in tandem with the study
found that many do other things while supervising swimming children: 11% talk on the phone, 18% read and 38% talk to other people.

Angela Mickalide, program director of the National Safe Kids Campaign, says the campaign advocates "active" supervision —
continuous visual and auditory contact with children when they are in or near water.

"Most parents don't realize that drowning happens very quickly and very silently," she says. Unlike the rescues depicted on TV shows
such as Baywatch, a drowning person can't yell or wave his arms.

"You need a lot of air to scream," Mickalide says.

As soon as a child gets in the water, the clock starts ticking, says Martin Eichelberger, a pediatric trauma surgeon at Children's
National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the chief executive of Safe Kids. Within just a few minutes, a child can suffer
irreversible brain damage if the brain is deprived of oxygen.

U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who once worked as a lifeguard at New York's Rockaway Beach, says many parents get a
false sense of security around water. "You hear it over and over again: 'I just looked away for a minute,' " he says. "And in that minute,
tragedy happens."

Some experts recommend that parents think of pools and other bodies of water as inherent hazards to their children.

"If you've got a backyard pool, you have a death trap on your property," says Chris Brewster, president of the United States Lifesaving
Association. Brewster says that if he had a pool on his property and there were children around, "I'd fill that pool with sand."

Most recommendations are less severe. Safe Kids says:

• Pools should be surrounded by a fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate.

• Children should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation devices.

• Parents should not rely on inflatable inner tubes or water wings.

Lea Owens channeled her sorrow over Harley's death in 1998 by starting Mothers for Water Safety Coalition (, an
organization that campaigns for laws requiring public and private pools to have fences, covers, alarms and self-locking gates.

Owens was not oblivious to the dangers of the in-ground pool in the backyard, and she took steps to ensure her children's safety,
including locking the back door.

But somehow Harley got outside.

"I know parents think their kid can't get the door open," she says. "But don't put it past him."

1-year-old falls in
By staff
Originally posted on July 21,
A 1-year-old Cape Coral boy
slid open a glass door and fell
into a pool at about 8:30 a.m.
today at 1505 S.E. Fifth Court,
emergency officials said.

Paramedics took the child to
Cape Coral Hospital, where
the toddler's condition was not
immediately known. He was
transferred to The Children's
Hospital of Southwest Florida
which has a pediatric
emergency and pediatric
intensive care facilities. The
children's hospital is part of
the Health Park Medical
Center campus.

Cape Coral police are