Neighbors saddened by child's drowning - - The News for South Mississippi

Neighbors saddened by child's drowning

Mary Jean Hoover knows how quickly a child can slip under the water's surface.

"When you have a lot of family your eyes get diverted from what's really going on," she says. "It doesn't take but a second for anything tragic like that to happen."

Jefferson Parish Sheriff's investigators say that's what happened on Hoover's street Saturday evening.

Deputies rushed to a home on Randolph Street in Marrero, where a family had been holding a large get-together.

A relative found two-year-old Natalie Gandy unresponsive at the bottom of the above-ground pool.

Family members and deputies performed CPR until paramedics arrived, but the toddler later died at West Jefferson Medical Center.

"I have two girls," says Hoover. "It's just heartbreaking because we've never had anything like that happen. we have a really stable neighborhood, families and their children live here. Their children's children so it's a stable neighborhood, so it's traumatic."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages one to four. Most of those drownings occur in a home swimming pool.

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, in partnership with the American Red Cross, held free swim lessons last week for children and adults.

NORD pools and local YMCAs are also giving lessons this summer to help people of all ages be comfortable in the water.

"We consider it a life skill here since we are surrounded by water," says JoAnn Burke with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. "So the program was launched as an answer to teaching people to be able to swim in the area safely, whether in a swimming pool or in our beautiful lake which is clean for swimming again."

Hoover says Saturday's drowning has her reinforcing water safety lessons with her own children.

"It's like a buddy system," she says. "You should always have a buddy in the pool and they should always have someone with them at all times. Never go in the pool alone."

A lesson everyone needs to know as summer approaches.

For more information on swim safety and lessons, click here.

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