COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - Two young children have drowned in backyard pools in less than a week on the North Shore. Now, authorities are urging parents to be cautious when children are playing in and around water, especially as the weather starts to warm up.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office says a 5-year-old boy drowned in an above-ground pool Saturday afternoon at his grandmother's home on Plantation Street in Covington.
"This is an extremely sad and tragic event. Our prayers are with this heartbroken family, obviously, and we just want to urge all parents as it begins to warm especially to just be extra, extra cautious," said St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office Deputy Meredith Timberlake.
The coroner's office identifies the boy as Simon Baptiste. He would have turned 6 this Friday. According to preliminary autopsy results, he died of asphyxia due to drowning.
Deputies say his grandmother thought he was playing hide-and-seek when he disappeared. He was later found floating in the pool.
Last week, 4-year-old Timothy Brooks was found unresponsive in a backyard pool on West Pinewood Drive in Slidell. He was taken to the hospital, but it was too late.
"His father pulled him out of the pool, and they immediately started CPR. Our police officers got there within minutes, they took over CPR and then the EMTs from Acadian started CPR, as well," Slidell Police Detective Daniel Seuzeneau said Tuesday. "We did everything we could to revive this little boy and unfortunately by the time they got to the hospital he had passed away."
Authorities are now urging parents to take precautions to protect their children around water.
"Be sure to install some sort of barrier or fence around your pool, at least 4 feet high, self latching is always helpful, pool alarms and covers also are helpful," said Timberlake. "Swimming lessons are highly recommended, age appropriate swimming lessons, make sure everyone knows how to swim in the family, also CPR, that's very important to know, what to do in an emergency and how to handle that situation as well."
Timberlake added, "even with all the safety tips in the world, nothing beats constant supervision, that's number 1 priority."
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office also says if a child cannot be located and you do have a pool or live near water, that's the first place you want to check because seconds count in that situation.