First responders remind public of water safety after 2 near drownings in St. George

Posted at 8:35 PM, Jun 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-01 22:36:14-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah – After two toddlers almost drown in residential pools last week, St. George first responders are urging parents and children to be extra careful in the water.

The two near drownings happened just days apart. Both involved 3-year-old boys, and parents were present. St. George fire chief Robert Stoker said it shows the need to be extra vigilant.

“It was just seconds,” Stoker said. “Talking to the mother she said, ‘I was on the phone for just a second,’ when the other kids alerted her to the problem.”

One of those boys was Tommy Rasmussen. Tommy’s mother, Julie told FOX 13 the quick actions of Tommy’s older brother helped, and they’re grateful it wasn’t worse. Tommy’s brother pulled him from the pool, and Julie performed life-saving CPR.

Both near-drowning victims were transported to the hospital, Stoker said.

According to numbers compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 1 to 4 are most prone to drowning in pools. More information can be found at:

The CDC reports drowning is among the top five causes of unintentional death in the United States. More information can me found at:

“Kids just don’t realize how dangerous water can be,” said St. George mom Melissa Larson.

Larson said it’s scary to think about because you don’t want to think it will happen to you. She has all her kids in swim lessons to become comfortable with the water, but she recognizes that’s not always a guarantee.

“Even though my kids are good swimmers, we’ve had close calls,” Larson said. “Whether it’s here or at the river or whatever, you still have situations that can bring about a drowning situation, so it’s very important to watch the kids.”

Sand Hollow Aquatic Center director Kelly Humphreys said supervision is the most important thing when playing in the water, even at public pools. He said drowning can happen faster than parents expect.

“A lot of what we learn is active drowning,” Humphreys said. “It doesn’t work like that.  Its silent and so quickly that a child can slip under the water.”

Julie Rasmussen said Tommy had just finished survival swim lessons.

Rasmussen said because there are no guarantees, she believes knowing what to do following a near drowning is just as important. Her knowledge of CPR likely saved her son’s life.

Humphreys said beyond that, teaching kids the dangers about water, and always following pool rules are also important when playing in the water.

Additional pool safety tips can be found here: