West Palm Beach toddler beats the odds after drowning accident

By Rachida Harper on July 12, 2019

What was intended to be used as an escape from the Florida sun became the scene of a mother’s worst nightmare. Just two days after moving into a new home, West Palm Beach resident Shenelle Bell found her son floating facedown in their pool.

“The pool has always been a concern,” Bell said. “I had nightmares about the pool before I even moved in.”

To secure peace of mind, Bell had plans of getting a pool fence and enrolling her children in swimming lessons. Unfortunately, these security measures did not happen soon enough, and her son’s life was nearly taken. With the help of CPR and collected emotions, the toddler was able to be rescued in time.

According to End Drowning Now, an organization that advocates for water safety, Florida has had the most drowning fatalities in the last nine years, with nearly 2,000 deaths. Drowning is also the leading cause of death for children aged five and under, with about 80% of victims being boys. Bell is thankful that her son is not a part of the statistics.

Image provided by Unsplash.com

Even though the most effective way to prevent drowning is by taking part in swimming lessons, installing a pool fence can help decrease the chances of a child encountering danger. Baby Guard Pool Fence Company installed a fence around Bell’s pool in hopes that she would finally have a peace of mind about her children’s safety.

“If you can afford the pool, you can afford the pool fence, otherwise, you shouldn’t have a pool,” Baby Guard employee Mark Campi said. “There’s too many pools in Florida to not protect them and keep kids safe.”

Mark and his brother, Mathew Campi, believe a pool fence does not guarantee 100% safety, but is definitely a deterrent.

“When I first started, I would joke that we save lives, but over the years you learn ‘no, you actually are saving lives’,” Mathew said.

Bell is aware that not every parent is as fortunate as she is and wants to become an advocate for pool safety. She has plans of starting a nonprofit in the near future to help other parents coping with the trauma of having a child drown.

“I know you’re supposed to be safe and I know that kids drown every day, but until you go through [an experience] of your own, you don’t…realize how serious the matter really is,” Bell said. “Being that my child is alive, I want to use that as my testimony.”

Aspiring journalist and student reporter at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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