Yeah, we all know the story. Toddler drowns in a backyard pool. Parents or teenage babysitters were drunk, maybe stoned, and oblivious to where the poor neglected kid was. And of course there was no gate around the pool and doors were wide open.
Horrible parents, horrible tragedy.
But this one is different. This Boca Raton area family thought they took every precaution, and there were five adults home. They just didn't know how advanced their kid was in his development.
As the Palm Beach Post reports, the 19-month-old boy with the wonderful name of Alaadin Bazian wandered away from his mother and grandmother while they were cooking.
There was one door in the house that led straight to the pool without a gate in between. That door had two locks, but somehow little Alaadin managed to unlock it, and his family found him face-down in the pool.
His mother, father, grandfather, and teen aunt all jumped in, they performed CPR until the paramedics arrived, but the boy was declared dead at a hospital. All the adults told the same story, and no charges were planned.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department explained the problem in a news release:
"The family did take all the proper safety and security precautions in order to keep the children away from the pool ... They did not take into account that Alaadin's motor skills were developing to a point that he was able to unlock a reachable bolt lock."
It really is impressive to pull that off at 19 months. I once lifted my 3-year-old through a window when we locked ourselves out of a house, and tried to coach her on how to unlock the door. I thought I was going to have to call the fire department until she finally pulled it off after several minutes.
But when it comes to things that truly are dangerous -- cars and pools in particular -- I'm a hardliner.
They develop fast, but we need to have a good sense of our small ones' abilities. Can they shift a car into neutral? Can they unlock the door? A gate to the street?
Plain old locks around a gated pool aren't enough. You need the latest in pool-guard technology.
There should be no way to get to a pool without a gate. Temporary ones are plentiful if it's not somewhere kids live.
And no matter how many locks, gates, walls, or guard dogs surround a pool, no small child should be anywhere near it without an adult set of eyes on them.
When there are lots of adults around, it can actually be a problem because it puts everyone at ease. It's like when there's a scream on a New York street and everyone thinks someone else is calling 911. One adult needs to be the designated caretaker of a child that small. One person needs to always know where they are.
Image via Flickr.com/LeeCoursey