Orange parents of boy who drowned urge pool safety

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- An Orange couple is turning their heartbreak over the loss of their son into a campaign to try to save other children from drowning.

Mother Julie Lopiccolo has found water terrifying ever since her son's death last year.

Her nearly 2-year-old boy, Jasper St. Clair, was found face down in the babysitter's family pool on March 19, 2014. He spent nearly a week in the hospital fighting for his life, before he passed away.

"Our son drowned in a pool and the reason he drowned was because that pool was ungated," Lopiccolo said.

Since her son's death last year, Lopiccolo and her husband started the Jasper Ray Foundation to educate caregivers and pool owners about the dangers of water.

"It was preventable and most drownings are," Lopiccolo said.

This year, 28 drownings or near-drownings were reported in Orange County. About half were fatal.

"Of the 6 drowning calls that we had in about a 30-day span, three of those children died," said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi. "Isolation fences would have saved all these children."

Experts say even if a pool is gated and children know how to swim, they still should never be left unattended.

"The only way to prevent it is to have somebody constantly watching a child," father Jonathan St. Clair said.

St. Clair also recommends swimming lessons as early as possible and to learn CPR.

"We hope that nobody has to go through the pain that we go through on a daily basis -- waking up every day and not hearing our child's footsteps on the floor," St. Clair said.
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