Expert reminds swimmers of safety tips

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – A three-year-old girl has died after being found unresponsive in a pool along with her four-year-old brother Friday evening, News 4 has learned.

Lancaster Police say the girl was pronounced dead at 8:37 p.m. Friday. Her brother is still in critical condition at Women and Children’s Hospital as of Saturday evening. The incident happened on Rose Street in Lancaster.

According to Lancaster Police, the children were found by their aunt floating in a backyard pool around 7:37 P.M. at the home where they live with their grandmother and father.

Paramedics immediately began CPR and the children were rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Cheektowaga, the closest hospital to the home. The boy was later taken to Women and Children’s Hospital.

Lancaster Police are calling this a swimming accident, but say they’re still investigating. The names of the victims are not being released.

It’s the second drowning in a backyard pool involving children four or younger in the last two days. A firefighter’s one-year-old daughter drowned in a pool in Akron Thursday evening.

Safety officials are reminding adults it’s crucial to supervise children whenever they are near any body of water. Adults should never take their eyes off of young swimmers, not even for a moment.

“You always want to make sure that you have an eye on the children, and that they know the importance of water safety and asking for permission. It’s best, also, to have swimming lessons. You want to have that peace of mind that, if something were to happen, that they’re going to know what to do,” says Jay Bonafede, chief communications officer the Western and Central New York Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Anyone supervising swimmers should also know how to do CPR.

>>> WATCH a video on hands-only CPR

“They have some first aid knowledge, have taken first aid classes. They know how to swim themselves,” Bonafede says.

The Red Cross offers first aid classes that teach CPR and other life-saving skills, and you can even download a free app for your smartphone that will walk you through how to perform CPR.

“They’re all free for iPhones or Android devices. And they can give some of those really basic first aid, immediate, on-the-scene type of things, while you’re waiting for the professionals to come,” says Bonafede.

Know the signs of drowning. A person will not always scream or flail his/her arms.

“They’re just not going to be making forward progress. They’re going to be trying,” Bonafede explains. “They might be straight up and down still, but they’re not moving, and they’re getting tired.”

Keep life jackets and floatation devices nearby, to throw to a struggling swimmer.

“Know the importance and some of the tips about ‘Reach or throw; don’t go,'” says Bonafede. “Especially in live bodies of water, you don’t want to go in and make the situation worse, trying to rescue someone. If you can reach with something, or throw something that the person in distress can then grab, that’s a better option.”

Finally, consider installing locking gates and an alarm on backyard pools to prevent someone from falling in and alert you immediately, if there is an emergency.

“It really doesn’t take long for something like this to happen. It happens almost instantly,” Bonafede says.

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