Keeping children safe around the water

FRESNO, Calif.

Nothing beats the heat and offers more fun than a swimming pool -- but that joy can turn to heartache in the blink of an eye.

Erica Lopez almost lost her little Airabella a few weekends ago. The family pool has a high fence that's kept latched but that weekend her parent's home was filled with guests.

"She's ok. It's just scary, you know. Like it happened so fast. And there were so many people there but yet nobody, nobody seen her," said Erica Lopez. "The only one who did see her was my sister."

Vanessa is still feeling the effects of what happened and what she did. But outside she was able to talk about what saw and what she did.

Reporter asked, "Did you see her when she fell in?"

Vanessa replied, "No, I just seen her when she was in the water. Nobody turned around so I just swam over and hold onto the edge and went over here and my older sister grabbed her."

Little Bela had toddled through the gate past people standing and talking just inside it. Vanessa's actions prevented what could have been a tragedy.

At Children's Hospital Central California registered nurse Mary Jo Quintero offered some simple ways to keep kids safe in a pool. The first is access.

Quintero said, "An isolation fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate"

Next, attentive adult supervision that rotates to keep the watcher alert.

"We want to make sure there is one designated watcher for the kids," said Quintero. "So if I'm the one watching for that 15 minutes then nobody talks to me, nobody interacts with me. My job is to have my eyes on those kids at all times."

The last step, putting your child in a Coast Guard approved swim vest that fits.

Quintero said, "Life jackets certainly are an additional barrier and we are 100 percent in favor of people using them but you have make sure you get the right one."

And Vanessa has her own advice for adults, "Just keep an eye on little kids. And umm, don't let them go in when the gates are open."

It is very important the safety vests are approved by the Coast Guard and that they will fit your child, so try them on before you buy.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.