Near drowning spikes pool safety awareness

A little boy is still recovering in the hospital after nearly drowning in a south Richmond pool.

Police say he was found unconscious Saturday evening, at the St. John's Wood Apartments. It's a scary thought for any parent, especially on this holiday weekend.

Public pools in Richmond aren't yet open for the season, but on this unofficial start to summer,  many are.

Experts at a pool in Chesterfield had some really good tips that parents and kids need to know before jumping in.

From toddler to teenager, kids of all ages are making their splash.

For some, good times rippled to a halt when an 11-year old boy almost drowned at a community pool in the St. John's Wood Apartment complex in Richmond's southside. He received CPR, was  rushed to the hospital, and is still in critical condition. It's just a reminder for parents to keep a close eye on their children.

Charity Torrence makes sure her kids are strong swimmers. She introduced them to water when they were babies.

"We don't want them to be afraid of the water," said Torrence. "We want them to be confident."

At the pool at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, roughly 2,500 people will come and go each day over the weekend.

Park Manager, Dan Quesenberry, encourages parents to teach their kids how to swim.

"Making sure they're strong swimmers is important so they know what to do in the water so they don't panic," said Quesenberry.

He also recommends life vests over arm floaters because they keep kids' heads above water. Pool staff issue these orange arm bands to decipher the kids who can't swim from the ones who can.

"This way we can identify the kids who don't need to be in water over their heads," Quesenberry added. "And the kids that don't have these bands on - we know they're safe to go into the five foot pool."

No matter the depth, Torrence's kids and nieces will splish splash all day long. That's why rest is important and parents are the only ones who can enforce that.

"It is possible for a kid to not realize he's too tired to be swimming anymore," Quesenberry noted.

A quick rest is also a great time to reapply the sunscreen. It's all around safety that will keep kids safe all summer long.

According to a Virginia study, swimming pools have the highest drowning rates among kids ages one to nine.

Again, police say that boy in Saturday's close call is still in critical condition. We'll continue to keep you posted on his condition.

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