An Ohio couple is grieving the loss of their 8-year-old son after he drowned at a pool party.
Bradley Smith took his son Amare Cole Smith to a children’s pool party in June, WBNS reported. Smith coaches his son’s basketball team, and the team was celebrating the end of the season.
"They were just so happy to get to the pool,” Smith said. “They were just jumping in one by one by one. I wish I would have made him wait for me like I usually do.”
But when Smith went to make a plate of chips and dip, tragedy struck.
"I'm turning around and they're holding him in the air,” Smith recalled.
One of the children in the pool told the adults that Amare was swimming after a basketball at the deep end. Smith believes his son went under, and took in water without making any noise.
"If they panic and go under you're not going to get a splash,” Smith explained. "You're not going to get a warning sign. You're going to turn around and your son is going to be fighting for his life."
At least six other adults were present at the pool party.
Smith performed CPR on his son before medics arrived and rushed him to the hospital. The couple decided to remove Amare from his life support in July.
"He was a champion,” Smith said. “He was a fighter.”
The couple is warning other parents about the dangers of private pools. Smith encourages parents to seek out the deep end with their children so they won’t panic if they accidentally enter deep water.
"It can happen so quick, and once it happens you can't go back,” said Smith.
A former lifeguard said drowning children might not appear to be in need of saving, according to the Independent Journal Review.
“When we were training, they always told us to look for the kids who weren’t making any noise,” the former lifeguard said. “A child who is struggling to breathe is not going to have the physical ability to scream for help."
“A child who is really drowning is in panic mode, and even if they have the physical ability to swim to the side they will be too panicked to do so.”