May 10, 2013 9:54 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Local boy drowns; reminder of pool safety

Paso Robles Police told KSBY on Friday that it is still investigating the death of a three-year old boy in Paso Robles from last Saturday. Police said the little boy, named Justin Vargas-Smith drowned in a swimming pool. They were not specific about the details of the drowning, but said it is likely that it is just a tragic accident.

A family friend told KSBY it is likely that Vargas-Smith did not have any prior swimming lessons. Police said Vargas-Smith's death is a reminder to families to keep their children safe in and around the pool.

San Luis Obispo resident Jason Vestre said it is heartbreaking whenever he hears of a young child dying from drowning. He said that is one of the reason why he and his wife send their four-year old son Jayden to swim lessons every week.

"It's really important to me that he know how to go to someone's house with a pool and be able to fall in and save himself. I need him to be able to learn to flip over on his back and float until there's help," said Vestre.

Vestres sends his son to 5 Cities Swim School in Arroyo Grande. Owner Jeffery Purchin said there is no excuse for a child to ever drown.

He said, "It's preventable, number one. Every parent should supervise their child all time, 100-percent of the time. Number one, number two, there should be barriers around the pool."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports drowning as the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4.

"It's scary. It's terrifying really, I can't imagine," said Vestre.

Purchin said, "It's so vital that kids get swimming lessons, at least to the point where they can get themselves, you know, on their back and float on their back and get to safety if they need to."

Purchin said there are even classes available at low or no cost for families who cannot afford it.



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