Boy whose neighbors say he was living with autism drowns in Lauderdale Lakes pool – NBC 6 South Florida

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said a 10-year-old boy drowned in a backyard pool at a Lauderdale Lakes home on Saturday morning.

Investigators say the call arrived at 9.06am in the 4500 block of NW 32nd Court.

Paramedics who arrived at the scene attempted to perform CPR, but the child was later pronounced dead in hospital.

NBC 6 spoke to the owner of the house where the child drowned.

“My son said, ‘Mom, there are people in our pool. Why are there people in our pool?'” she said. “So I went to investigate, and the kid was on the floor, and the uncle was freaking out.”

The landlady told NBC 6 that the boy did not live in her home or visit her. She says the child lived in the neighborhood and showed up alone, and sometimes wandered onto her property.

“He just randomly comes to my house and plays with my kids’ toys in my yard,” she said.

Neighbors say the child was living with autism.

“You see tragedies like this happen too often. It’s the number one killer of children with autism,” said Audrey Amadeo, board-certified behavior analyst and founder of the Arts for Autism Foundation.

Amadeo says children with autism are more likely to wander in the summer and are often drawn to water.

“More than half of people with autism have a behavior called running away. This is also called wandering. So they like to wander around or leave a designated safe area,” Amadeo said. “Their perception of danger is affected. So they don’t necessarily know that there is a danger associated with bodies of water.

NBC 6 knocked on the door of the child’s home, but the person who answered the door declined to comment.

The BSO Homicide Unit is investigating the case.

Amadeo encourages parents of autistic children to take their children to swimming lessons and indicates that there are autism-friendly providers.

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children aged 1 to 4 and the second leading cause of accidental death in children aged 5 to 9. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency reported that more than 60% of fatal drownings of children under 4 occur in swimming pools.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Red Cross suggest homeowners follow these safety tips to help prevent tragedy and keep a backyard pool well-maintained:

Pool Safety Tips

  1. Install the appropriate barriers, covers and alarms: Secure your pool with appropriate barriers. Completely surround your pool with a 4 foot high fence or barrier with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Place a safety cover over the pool or spa when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access. Consider installing a pool alarm that goes off if someone enters the pool.
  2. Never leave a child unattended in or near water: Always supervise children when they are in or near water and never leave them unattended. Designate an official Water Watcher, an adult responsible for supervising children in the water. That should be their only job – they shouldn’t read, text or play games on their phone. Have a phone handy at all times in case you need to call for help, and if a child is missing, check the pool first.
  3. Teaching children to swim: Swimming isn’t just fun, it’s a life-saving skill. Enroll children in swimming lessons; there are many free or discounted options available from your local YMCA, United States Swimming Chapter or Parks and Recreation Department. Ask young or inexperienced swimmers to wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  4. Teach children to stay away from drains: Do not play or swim near drains or suction inlets, especially in spas and shallow pools, and never enter a pool or spa with a loose, broken or missing drain cover . Children’s hair, limbs, jewelry, or swimwear can get caught in a drain or suction opening. When using a spa, be sure to locate the emergency vacuum stop before entering the water.
  5. Keep your pool water clean and clear: Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Test and adjust chemical levels regularly to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes, or more serious illnesses.
  6. Have an emergency response plan: Make sure everyone at home knows how to respond to water emergencies by having the proper safety equipment and taking water safety, first aid and CPR courses. Often bystanders are the first to help a drowning victim, so learning CPR can help save a life. And once you’re certified in CPR, be sure to keep your certification current. CPR classes are available at many hospitals and community centers, or by contacting the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or [email protected]

This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with NBC 6 for updates.


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