Swimming pool ladder

There is a spotlight on safety after the near drowning of a toddler in a community pool.

“We take water safety very seriously here,” said Shelley McArthur, operations director for the Flint YMCA.

With indoor pools almost everywhere, the chance of drowning can happen at any time.

That is what nearly happened at a hotel pool in Livonia.

A 2-year-old boy was submerged in the pool for minutes, while he was surrounded by people in the pool. Thankfully, strangers jumped into action and rescued the boy.

Safety experts, like McArthur, said it all could have been easily avoided with proper pool safety.

“We require that parents swim with their children and that children are always within an arm’s length. And have your eyes on your children at all times. A drowning can happen within seconds,” McArthur said.

McArthur said incidents like the one in Livonia are all too common at indoor pools without lifeguards.

She said most people take the depth of the water for granted when swimming with their kids.

“A lot of times people are in pools where their children can touch, and they don’t think there’s a chance that something can happen to their children. And that’s just not true. A child can drown in a very shallow pool,” McArthur said.

Some safety tips the Flint YMCA wants to remind people about are to make sure you always know the depth of the water, make sure you see the bottom of the pool’s surface, and always swim with somebody else.

“I also tell people, don’t go in after someone drowning. Make sure you throw something to them, use a stick to try and help them get to shore. Because someone panicking is most likely going to pull you under also,” McArthur said.

Livonia police said they have nominated the four people who rescued the toddler for the city’s highest civilian award.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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