ABC 22 News Team
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Boy Nearly Drowns; Parents Warn of Drowning Dangers
VERSAILLES -- Many backyard pools are already open, and nearly all the community pools open up this weekend. While the excitement builds, parents need to keep safety in mind.
Andrew Lyons spends his afternoons near the scanner and reading firefighter magazines. This 6 year old hopes to be a firefighter when he grows up - just like his dad. He's even got a pager.
"You have runs," said Andrew. "It goes off - for the fire department."
He also loves hanging out with his family at their Versailles home. It's these very moments Darlene and Tim Lyons really appreciate, they almost lost the little guy two summers ago.
"He was at the edge of the pool," said Darlene Lyons. "But he was completely blue, and unresponsive."
Retelling the horror catches Darlene's throat every time.
"He was completely blue, completely lifeless when she drug him out of the pool. ... He was screaming, but barely breathing," Darlene said.
Andrew was learning how to swim - near the edge, but when adult swim time became hectic, he went under.
"Darlene called, it was 4:08 and she said, Andrew's drowning," said Tim Lyons.
"Being on the fire department we've landed CareFlight plenty of times, but you never think it's going to be for your own kid."
Andrew was flown by CareFlight here to Dayton Children's. The Lyons followed in a car. They say it was the longest ride they'll ever have to take.
"I saw so much of the Interstate that I never saw was there before, it seemed like we were standing still," continued Darlene, "I had to call my family and that was really hard..."
Dayton Children's Medical Center sees dozens of drownings and near-drownings each summer.
"It's a horrible feeling," Darlene said. "Especially because I was there with him, I felt responsible ... it just happened so fast."
Doctors hear that a lot, because it doesn't take long for kids to get into trouble.
"Be paranoid, supervise your children very carefully around water," said Tom Krzmarzick, Head of Emergency Services. "My second piece of advice: if you have a swimming pool, make it as safe as possible."
Dr. Krzmarzick is talking about gates around the outside that don't connect to the house. Keep toys out of the pool so kids aren't tempted. Install a pool alarm that sounds when the water gets disturbed, and cover it when it's not being used. He also recommends teaching your kids to swim, as early as toddler age. When it comes to the community pools like the one Andrew was in, it's all about never turning your back.
The Lyons say they're forever indebted to the first responders and the staff at Children's who saved Andrew's life.
"It's hard to feel it in the moment, but how God had everyone where they needed to be that day."
Andrew remembers that day pretty well, but hasn't stopped swimming, and mom and dad are so grateful their little boy is growing up with big dreams of perhaps saving others lives someday.
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