HOMESTEAD (CBSMiami) – A two-year-old Homestead girl is in critical condition at Miami Children’s Hospital after falling into a neighbor’s above-ground pool.
The incident has prompted renewed warnings from authorities who urge parents to teach their children how to swim at an early age and to always supervise them.
Police say it was just after 8 a.m. when they received the call that the girl had apparently wandered away from her home at the South Dade Center for migrant workers and was found inside the three-foot high pool.
Homestead Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue raced to the home at 31429 S.W. 136th Ave. and found the child in the pool. She was unresponsive. She was rushed to Homestead Hospital near the home and was later airlifted to Miami Children’s Hospital.
Police have not identified the child.
Teenage neighbors who CBS4 is not identifying told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that other neighbors told them the girl’s mother was home at the time.
“What I heard was that the mother was taking a shower and they have two other young kids and the back door was opened,” said one of those neighbors.
A family friend, who was not identified, said that is not true. The girl’s mother was making breakfast when the girl slipped out of a door.
“The parents found the girl facing down in the 3-foot wading pool,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Arnold Piedrahita. “Fireighters worked on the girl feverishly and she was transported in critical condition. This is a reminder that accidents like this can occur in a split second.”
“There is a sad statistic that one to four children drown every day here in Florida,” said Piedrahita. “There’s another sad statistic too that 70 per cent of all drownings of children occur when one parent or both parents are present”
He offered some life-saving tips.
“Number one, supervise your children,” he said. “Number two, have a barrier or a pool fence if you do have a pool at your home to prevent anyone from getting access to the pool when there is no adult there to supervise them. Number three, teach your children how to swim.”
“And number four, there is an extra safeguard,” he said. “Install an alarm on any door that leads to the pool or the back yard where your pool is. That way when the door opens, an alarm will sound.”
D’Oench spoke with Piedrahita as his 11-month-old son Luke was taking a swimming lesson at Little Swimmers in Miami.
“We start kids as young as 8 months old and they can swim before they walk,” said Gerard Little, the co-owner of Little Swimmers.
“We have had instances where parents have come back to us and said because of the lessons, the children did save themselves,” he said. “And so we did save a life.”
Little Swimmers gives private lessons to Adults and children and even youngsters with special needs in Miami and Pembroke Pines.
Little Swimmers says people are taught to swim in five lessons with the help of Red Cross-certified and insured instructors.