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Girl, 4, drowns during pool party in Laguna Hills

July 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A family in Laguna Hills is mourning the loss of a 4-year-old girl who drowned in a whirlpool spa.

Investigators said the incident happened at a packed pool party at an apartment complex along the 25000 block of Stockport Street. About 60 people were in attendance, but none of them spotted the horrible tragedy in time.

Ernie Susman said his daughter, Allison, was with her mom at the busy pool party on Saturday. Allison's mom put her in a "Dora the Explorer" life preserver.

"She walked away from mom with the life preserver on. When she was out of mom's sight, she took the life preserver off, and that's when they found her at the bottom of the pool with the life preserver on the side of the pool deck," said Susman.

Flowers and candles now sit where Allison walked into the whirlpool spa, which was heated up at the time. Authorities hope the incident may be a wakeup call to parents.

"This was a very tragic accident," said Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. "If you have a gathering near a swimming pool, it's advisable to assign adults to watch one end of the pool and the other end of the pool."

Susman said he will never be able to look at pools the same way.

"Don't think someone else is watching your child. Make sure you try to have a clear sight of where your child is," said Susman.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said about 300 children under 5 die each year due to drowning in swimming pools.


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