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4-year-old drowns in Brookline pool

Brookline Police report a four-year-old was found unresponsive in a pool at 16 Prescott St. shortly before 4:40 p.m. on Monday.

Adults on scene at the residence were performing CPR on the child with the guidance of our Dispatcher, and lifesaving efforts continued upon the arrival of emergency personnel. The child was transported to Boston Children’s Hospital, and was pronounced deceased shortly after his arrival.

Police say that the Norfolk County District Attorney's office and State Police have joined an investigation into the death.

At this time we know that the child was one of several children in the pool at the time of the drowning, and that several adults were in very close proximity. At this time this case appears to be an unfortunate accident, however it remains under investigation and we will let you know if that changes.

Police add:

For so many of us, Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer, and this tragedy serves as an important reminder that drowning can happen in a matter of seconds, and it’s often silent, not the way it’s depicted in the movies or on television. More children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects, and for children ages 1–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes.



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This is awful.
Teaching kids to swim should be like teaching them to cross the street. 4 is not too young to learn.. such a tragedy.

Voting closed 14

teaching a child, or anyone, how to swim is not a substitute for deliberate, responsible supervision of any aquatics activity. Adults simply being present at the pool is not sufficient supervision.

Voting closed 66

Condolences to this family.
Always hate to hear these pool stories of what should be just a fun day. So so sad.

Voting closed 17

16 Prescott looks to be an exclusive address. My guess would be a party with alcohol involved and the parents not paying attention.

It's a painful lesson for these parents obviously, but for anyone reading this, you must keep an eye on children around water. At a water park, never take your eyes off them. It's exhausting, but accidental drownings are more common than you think.

Voting closed 18

How disgusting that a child is dead and here you sit, looking up a property address and assuming that the parents were wealthy and subsequently drunk and inattentive - is that your thought process?

Years ago, at a pool party, my youngest found himself in the middle of the deep end of the pool. He was trying to get on a float but could not. He was tiring. I had eyes on him. He did not call out, he did not show distress. But I could see he was dipping in and out of the water and he looked off to me. I did not hesitate. I following my instinct and jumped into the pool in all of my clothes at that very moment (everyone thought I was crazy) and fished him out. He was indeed starting to drown. However, if I had been in the bathroom, who knows what would have happened? Drowning is not always showy, often it is the opposite. It can happen when kids are surrounded by caring, attentive sober parents who are just not aware of what to look for.

Voting closed 83

I will be honest, after reading the story I looked at the house listing and was in awe of its grandeur - the large rooms, the majestic landscaping; now all the backdrop for the death of a child which will make it all seem hollow, and meaningless.

My cousin nearly drowned when we were kids in an above ground pool out Sudbury, behind a nice big house, with a large family gathering over fourth of July because he ran to grab a toy from the pool and did one more dive and hit his head on one of those metal floating lounge chairs. The 80s music was loud, about 1/3 of the adults had a bud light or coors next to their burgers and dogs, and the pool was 10 feet from the grill. When we heard a splash, his aunt ran over to the pool and grabbed him out.

It was a pool they had for years, four feet deep, and he was a good swimmer at 6. He was fine with just a bump and a cough for 30 mins from gulping in water.

My point is, you watch your kids, make sure they can swim, and sometimes accidents happen. If I meant my kid being alive or dead, I'd trade my house in a heartbeat.

Voting closed 28

Thank you

Voting closed 15

I don't think my guess is far off. Thanks for your story, you just demonstrated what the correct behavior of the parent of a 4 year old should be, which is why your son is alive.

The parents of the child failed them. If you had gone to the bathroom, you should've asked your partner to keep an eye on him.

Voting closed 12

You should have a "painful Lesson" on how to show some compassion for the death of a child.

Voting closed 2

The child is dead because of the negligence of the parents. This was a completely avoidable accident.

Voting closed 17

This was a completely avoidable accident.

If you have knowledge of the danger, perhaps, yes. But many people don't.

I think you're missing something, and I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps you don't understand how easy it is to drown. Perhaps you aren't aware of the many different types of water hazards, or how helpless a poor swimmer or non-swimmer is in many situations. Maybe you don't understand that it's a lot easier to buy a pool toy than it is to buy a PFD, or that people can drown while wearing a properly fitted, properly worn PFD.

The fact of the matter is that every summer, many non-swimmers and poor swimmers drown for the simple reason that they go into the water, where they cannot save themselves if something goes wrong. Unless they are literally within arm's reach of a strong swimmer, and sometimes not even then, they are taking a big chance simply by being in the water. It does not take an extraordinary act of negligence. It's just that they are in an environment that is inherently dangerous, to everyone, but especially to them.

Voting closed 21

My co-worker was there, and had taken a photo of the little one just before the accident. She is beside herself with guilt, as everyone is who was at the event.

Voting closed 26

Which is repeated every summer many times throughout the country. You cannot leave kids unattended in a pool or tub for even a second. Never have a group for a pool party without hiring a trained lifeguard.

Voting closed 17

You cannot leave kids unattended in a pool or tub for even a second. Never have a group for a pool party without hiring a trained lifeguard.

That's extreme and unrealistic. It's very satisfying to wag your finger and say "I told you so" after things go badly, but managing risk for kids isn't black and white. A first time parent taking their toddler to a pool will watch the kid like a hawk. A parent whose youngest child is 8 years old and swims laps, will not be as attentive. That's how people balanced risk for centuries, and still do throughout most of the world.

Voting closed 5

A parent whose youngest child is 8 years old and swims laps, will not be as attentive.

None of which relates to the comment you're responding to, which spoke of a "pool party", where the swimming ability of the kids attending is not known. Or perhaps you think they should run heats before being allowed in the pool? Oh wait...

Having a trained lifeguard at a pool party is not a bad idea, and it's not a heavy lift. A lot of people have this training. You're just being againsty.

Voting closed 10

But I’m still the only one watching my kids while they are in the water, especially if they are unable to swim. It’s very easy to look away in these types of gatherings (family, friends) and trust that the people you are with are watching the pool, trained or not.

It’s a tragedy. No parent should lose a child.

It looks like there is new tech out there to help prevent these accidents.


Voting closed 8

But I’m still the only one watching my kids while they are in the water, especially if they are unable to swim.

Meaning, you would not permit a lifeguard to be present?

It looks like there is new tech out there to help prevent these accidents.

There's been a lot of "tech" "out there" over decades to help prevent these accidents. None of it ever does the job completely; much of it (like this) could be helpful in some situations*, but not this one. This would help keeping kids out of the water altogether, not protect them when they're in it.

*also not helpful because it isn't available for another year

Voting closed 7

No Ibb, I don’t go around kicking out lifeguards. Obviously I allow lifeguards to do their jobs and the more safety precautions, the better. All I’m saying is you shouldn’t trust anyone, even trained personnel, when your own kids are in the water.

“19 percent of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with certified lifeguards present.”


Technology can help prevent tragedies as well, but is also not perfect and shouldn’t be solely relied upon. An alarm going off when someone falls in can help alert those not paying attention. I would say that is quite helpful in many situations.

As for this one, it’s beyond me how a 4 year old was in a pool without an adult. Perhaps they were, the report is vague. More details can maybe help prevent the same type of tragedy.

Voting closed 5

I'll give you that the term "lifeguard" should be reserved to those with specific training and certifications, which is not feasible for all aquatics activities. But having qualified supervision, a dedicated lookout and dedicated "response personnel" are 3 of the 8 components of the system used by the Boy Scouts of America to keep large groups of youth with varying abilities safe in the water (Safe Swim Defense: https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss02/)

Determination of individual swimming ability before freely swimming is also one of the components of our Safe Swim Defense program.

A backyard pool party should not have zero adults deliberately supervising the swimmers. It does not need to be every parent watching their own child like a hawk but it needs to be someone who is aware of their responsibility.

Drownings are rare today, but if we do it right every time, we can eliminate them entirely from recreational swimming.

Voting closed 2

The issue at a party is that everyone is *sort of* watching the kids but no one is actively watching. What is extreme and unrealistic in that specific situation is to think every parent is actively watching their own child like a hawk.

You can have the adults agree specifically who is watching the whole pool and when and have a procedure for actively "passing the whistle" (and you'll likely need multiple people on shift to cover safely, depending on the number of people in the pool). Or you can pay a certified lifeguard for a few hours, just like you would a babysitter.

Drowning in a crowd is hard to spot unless you're trained to look for it. And it's hard to continuously pay attention and block out the party distractions unless you've got that habit.

Also, unless you notice the child struggling in the pool, you won't be alert later for dry drowning or secondary drowning.

Voting closed 9