Group Working for Summer Free of Tragedy | Parents & kids
Austin Sonetti has little brain function and suffers seizures. He is only 9 years old.
Austin is this way because he fell into a backyard pool when he was just 17-months-old. His brain was deprived of oxygen for 39 minutes. He survived but barely.
"He is now left in a vegetative state. He suffers seizures. He has a trach (tracheotomy tube). He has recurrent pneumonias," Austin's mother Cierra Sonetti said.
Austin is an example of just how dangerous a body of water can be. Three adults were in the backyard with him when he silently slipped into the pool in April 2005.
It is a case like the Sonetti family that the Southern Nevada Child Drowning Coalition is hoping to prevent this summer.
The group held an April Pool's Day event Monday at a pool in North Las Vegas to get the word out about the dangers of pools.
About ten children in southern Nevada drown each year, and it is one of the leading causes of accidental death for children under the age of four, according to the coalition. The chairman of the group calls drowning an epidemic.
"It is a preventable disease. We do not have to search for a cure. We have it. It is the ABC & D'S of drowning," SNCDPC Greg Blackburn said.
The ABC & D'S of drowning prevention are:
Adult supervision: always put an adult in charge of watching children around water.
Barriers: a fence around a pool
Classes: swimming and CPR
Devices: life jackets
That message is one Austin's mother hopes gets through to everyone, because she is reminded every day of how different her son's life could have been.
"Austin has a twin sister. And that makes it even more difficult. Things that she's doing, he should be doing right there beside her. So it doesn't get easier," she said.