SoCal parents urge water safety after their 18-month-old son almost drowns

According to the CDC, drowning is the number one cause of death of kids between the ages of one and four outside of birth defects.
POMONA, Calif. (KABC) -- A family is speaking out about one of the worst days of their lives. In February, parents Hilary and Michael Zunde found their son face down in their spa.

"I think being to so many emergencies, nothing could ever prepare you for doing CPR on your baby," said Hilary Zunde. "So, it's something that still haunts me and still bothers me to this day."

As registered nurses, husband and wife Michael and Hilary have saved countless lives operating under intense pressure daily, but they never thought they would have to use those same techniques on their own baby.

"I immediately screamed for my husband, and I pulled him out and he wasn't breathing," said Hilary Zunde. "He wasn't responsive or moving. So, I just started CPR."

Their 18-month-old son Zachary had fallen into their spa outside. When first responders arrived, he had a pulse, but needed to be put on a ventilator at the hospital. Zachary survived.

Now the family shares their story to emphasize the importance of water safety, especially when kids are around.

"It's just having those layers of protection because with kids no matter what, they're smart," said Michael Zunde. "They're going to get through things. They get through locks, they learn how to open doors, they watch you do it."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of death of children between the ages of 1 and 4, outside of birth defects.

Trauma medical director Dr. Michael Jimenez said doing things like making sure your kids can swim, designating someone to keep watch over the pool and learning CPR can all be great ways to be prepared for the worst.

"This can happen to anyone at any time and the only way to prepare for the worst that can happen is to be prepared for the worst that can happen," said Jimenez. "And that's through training and education."

"We had an amazing outcome with Zachary and I feel like that's given us some strength to come forward," said Michael Zunde. "But still every day, you wake up counting your blessings and thanking God for what you have here."

His parents said Zachary was sent home from the hospital two days after being admitted and has recovered well.

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