First responder’s dad springs into action to save his son from the pool

Video urges parents to remind pool safety ahead of summer.

A dad has sprung into action to save his one-year-old son from drowning, prompting parents to raise pool safety awareness before summer.

Zachary Petite, a fire engineer and paramedic in Hemet, Calif., said he was caring for his other child when toddler Cole jumped into the pool after slipping out of his life jacket.

“I look and I can’t find it and I ended up seeing it sink to the bottom of the pool,” said Petite, who is a father of three.

The rescue was caught on video and in a 40-second clip of the footage released by the Hemet Firefighters Association, Petite can be seen quickly rushing to the edge of the water and pulling out her son, who was thankfully unharmed.

“I just went over there, picked him up and pulled him out of the pool,” Petite said.

Drowning is the no. 1 cause of death in children 1 to 4 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adam Katchmarchi, executive director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, said parents often have a false sense of security when it comes to using floats such as the one Cole wore.

“So often kids don’t understand what this device does for them,” Katchmarchi said. “Once this device is turned off, [Cole] did not hesitate to jump into the water.”

According to the CDC, most pool drownings occur when parents are distracted or when children have unsupervised access. National Drowning Prevention Alliance experts are urging parents to adopt protective layers around swimming pools.

The five layers of protection include:

  • Use barriers, such as four-sided fences with self-closing and locking gates, and alarms to prevent unsupervised access.
  • Constantly monitor water activity.
  • Learn the skills in the water and the skills needed to protect yourself and others in the water.
  • Wear US Coast Guard approved life jackets.
  • Prepare for emergencies and learn CPR and basic water rescue skills.

Katchmarchi also suggested designating a rotating team of adult “water monitors” who can look for distress when children are in or near a pool.

“A lot of times the layers of protection can break down,” he said. “That’s why we recommend that a multitude of these layers work together to really make the environment safer for young children.”

ABC News

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