BELMORE, N.Y. (CBSnewYork) – In a push to promote safe swimming this summer, officials are reminding parents to keep a close eye on their children.
This comes just days after Olympic skier Bode Miller lost his little girl in a drowning accident.
You can hear the desperation in the 911 call.
Dispatcher: “How long was she in the pool?”
Caller: “We don’t know.”
Dispatcher: “Is she breathing yet?”
Emeline Miller’s mother and neighbor frantically tried to save her after she fell into a backyard pool. She died Sunday.
Her father wrote on Instagram, “Never in a million years did we think we would experience a pain like this.”
We are beyond devastated. Our baby girl, Emmy, passed away yesterday. Never in a million years did we think we would experience a pain like this. Her love, her light, her spirit will never be forgotten. Our little girl loved life and lived it to it’s fullest everyday. Our family respectfully requests privacy during this painful time.
Stew Leonard and his wife Kim lost their little boy, Stewie, when he drowned in a backyard pool in 1989.
“What happened to Bode Miller and his wife happened to us – exactly same thing,” he told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes. “Even though it was nearly 30 years ago, it still hit our heart.”
“I thought Stew was watching Stewie, and he thought I was watching him,” said Kim. “That was our mistake.”
The Leonards, perhaps best known for their food stores, have made it their mission to raise awareness about water safety. On Thursday, they joined Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen on Long Island as pool and beach season gets underway.
“Children can drown in as little as an inch or two of water,” Gillen said.
They offered several tips for parents:
Teach your child not to go in the water without an adult present.
If a child is missing, check the pool first.
Enroll them in swim classes.
Designate an adult to be a water watcher.
“The best thing the parents can do is just pay attention to their child when they’re near the water,” said Stew.
The Leonards remind everyone to put down their cellphone and keep their eyes on their kid. They also said pool gates and alarms are helpful but should never take the place of an adult’s watchful eye.