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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tampa Hotel Pool Drowning That Could Have Been Avoided

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This story is from a friend of mine who is a Mental Health Humor reporter at Mental Health Humor and Mental Health Humor 2. The first part of this story is the newspaper reporting of the tragedy and the second part is his personal account of what happen and why.

Although this story is sad and disturbing, moms, dad, grandparents and all kids need to read this and see how an accident can happen and what the consequences are. When I read the story and his accounts, I knew I had to air this and let everyone know that children must be watched around water. Children have to be watched around everything.

Chato said, "This was not a good week for me emotionally, but I was in the best place and with the best people in order to handle it. This is what news story said about what happened."

Tampa Bay Online
updated 12:15 a.m. ET, Thurs., Aug. 28, 2008

TAMPA - A 3-year-old girl died Wednesday afternoon after wandering away from her family and falling into a hotel swimming pool, Tampa police said.

The girl and her family were on vacation and staying at the Embassy Suites, 555 N. Westshore Blvd., authorities said. The family is from the Cayman Islands.

Family members, whose names were not released by police, were sitting near the pool when the child wandered away, police said. The toddler was found unresponsive. Authorities do not know how long she was in the water.

A bystander gave the girl CPR until Tampa Fire Rescue paramedics arrived about 5 p.m. The girl was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Investigators have ruled the drowning an accident.


Chato said, "This is what really happened:"

This story makes me sick! I was there on the 12th floor and some of their facts are wrong.

There should be outrage over this, I don't know why it was swept under the rug, was it race? Was it the fact that the mother or family was not watching her and they did not want to embarrass them? Was it hotel liability?

Here are some facts, the pool was not filled as high as it was the day before...I was in the pool with my kids the day before and all my girls have a life jacket on at all time near and in the water... That is just my rule... With 4 kids having fun it can be hard to keep your eyes on them all the time, even when you are right in front of them. But, the day the child died the pool, the water was 6" lower, that could have soften the child's blow when she hit her head if it had been higher... Yes, I said HIT HER HEAD not just fell... she was with two other children at the time and no one else. If someone was watching her it would have been from 50 to 100 feet away. I have an eyewitness to this fact and so did the police.

She stepped by the pool on the edge and slipped and hit here head then went under water.

What happened next will horrify you.

The other small children of unknown age, but could not be older the 5 to 8 years old tried to pick her up out of the water, then she slipped under and they did it again... almost a full minute passed before a hotel worker, not a lifeguard came to her aid.

Still NO parent or guardian, to be found anywhere. There was an FBI training that day and one of its members came over to the child's aid too... none knew how to perform CPR on this a child... Another bystander and member of my training, and a mother of a two year old, who was certified to perform CPR on a child ran over and started doing it right and the child vomited up only her stomach contents and not water.

Almost seven minutes have gone by now, and that is when I looked out the 12th floor window and seen the crowd... At first, I thought it was an adult, so I grabbed my digital and I started videotaping. In the video, you can see the other so called bystander compressing the child's chest like it was a grown adult. So that is why I assumed it was an old man. Then when I zoomed in, I could see the small feet and legs and a bloated belly... I learned some basics about CPR when we had our son and it is different for children. CPR is "essentially breathes for the victim by forcing air into the lungs," but my understand is if you don't do it right your just blowing air into the child's belly. Could that have been what I seen?

When the ambulance tech came, you can see him checking and leaning over the child, then almost ripping him away for the FBI guy and running to the waiting ambulance... At this point, I hate what I saw next. Since I had it on zoom, I saw her face as the tech carried her lifeless body away.

The child's death should never, never, never have happened! The hotel had no one watching the pool, no lifeguard or staff was there. The mother was nowhere to be found, and the family was scattered about, running, and playing with out supervision. There is blame to be had here... And YES I do put it on both the family and the hotel.

All this could have been prevented... if having a lifeguard on staff would be too costly then at least make sure all managers and front desk workers are certified for CPR. In addition, the pool should require all children 7 years old and younger to wear a CHILDREN'S LIFE JACKET... For goodness sake, the pools deepest end was only 4.5 feet!

Why doesn't the Hotel have a supply of 10 or 20 available life jackets for the guests? We are talking about spending only a few hundred dollars or the equivalent on one nights stay!

I just wish more could be done... this child lost her voice and her life for nothing but carelessness and her face will forever be in my memory!

Sorry to air this out here, I wish I could blog about but it does not fit my format.

I thank you for letting me talk it out here... I just need to put my feeling into words and I hope I did not cause you any undo grief or sadness, but if you are crying over the child, just know you are not alone.

Does this make you think?

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