Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Parent who saved toddler's life tells of pool safety fear

A man who saved the life of a toddler discovered floating face down in a swimming pool has raised concerns over safety at the venue.

Doctors helped to resuscitate the 13-month-old girl after she was dragged from the water at Castlereagh’s Robinson Centre.

An investigation has been launched into the incident at the centre’s learner pool on Saturday morning.

The man who rescued the child said she had been removed from the water with seconds to spare.

The parent, who asked not to be named, has now called for a review of safety measures to prevent a similar incident in the future.

“I think parents like myself using the facility need assurances that pools like this are supervised and monitored,” he continued.

The toddler was in the changing rooms with her father and two other children prior to the incident. While her father was helping to change another child, the girl is believed to have entered the pool area and fallen in.

As soon as he realised she was missing, her father and the rescuer ran back to the pool area, where the toddler was found floating face down in the water.

The rescuer said: “I dragged the little child out of the pool, turned her upside down, put my fingers into her throat to dislodge her tongue and I could feel water passing by my fingers,” he added.

“She looked purple. There was a definite feeling of resignation in our faces. I definitely believed she had passed away.”

The man said staff were at the opposite end of the pool with children arriving for a lesson and hadn’t noticed the child in distress until he raised the alarm.

The child was taken to a first aid room where doctors revived her.

She was later transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital, and returned home on Sunday.

Castlereagh Council's director of leisure services Heather Moore said an investigation has been launched, adding:“We need to look into why this happened. It is an area which was not open to the public at that time.”

A council spokesman said no additional lifeguards were on duty as the pool was dedicated to lessons under the direct supervision of the swimming lessons teacher.

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