3-year-old dies after falling into grandparents' pool in Gold Canyon

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Carina Sonn

Posted on June 5, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 3 at 7:55 AM

Map: Entrada del Oro subdivision

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GOLD CANYON, Ariz. -- A Gold Canyon 3-year-old has died after falling into his grandparents' backyard swimming pool on Monday.

Emergency crews were called out to the Entrada del Oro subdivision, which is about eight miles south of Gold Canyon in Pinal County, shortly before 5 p.m. Monday. Gold Canyon is about 50 minutes east of Phoenix.

According to Elias Johnson, the spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, the little boy's father had taken him to the grandparents' house to go swimming. He left the child outside while he ran in to use the bathroom.

The dad said he was only gone for about two minutes, but it was long enough for the child, who was with the family dog, to find his way into the pool area and fall into the water. It's not clear how long he was under.

When he returned to the backyard, the 27-year-old father found his little boy floating face-down in the pool. He pulled him out and started CPR as emergency dispatchers gave him instructions over the phone. He kept it up until paramedics could get to the home.

It's not clear exactly how the little boy came to be in the water.

"The dog was wet," Dave Montgomery of the Apache Junction Fire Department said. "We're just not certain if the dog went in the pool and the child went in after the dog or if the child fell in and the dog went in after the child."

Apache Junction firefighters rushed the little boy to Arizona Regional Hospital. From there, he was flown to Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa.

While there is a mesh fence around the pool, Johnson said the entrance was open. It's not known it was open when the father went inside.

Elias said the investigation is ongoing. It's unclear at this point if any charges will be filed.

Stressing the ABCs of water safety, child-safety experts all over the Valley say it's essential for parents and caregivers to keep a close eye kids around water.

A - Adult supervision
When it comes to keeping kids safe around water, the most important thing is adult supervision. Adults should have eye-to-eye contact with kids at all times.

"Everybody caters to that designated adult supervisor, " Capt. Jorge Enriquez with the Phoenix Fire Department told 3TV's Tess Rafols last month. "No phone calls, you get them something to drink, you feed them. And for however long they're assigned, they just keep an eye on the kids. That's just their job."

B - Barriers
While there is no substitute for adult supervision, fences and locking gates can go a long way in keeping kids out of the swimming pool.

C - Classes
Not only should children take swimming lessons (although lessons in no way replace supervision), adults should be trained in CPR in case the unthinkable should happen.

Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death of children younger than 5, and child-safety experts say it's the only one that is 100-percent preventable.

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