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Drowning deaths of two young children ruled accidental; no charges filed

May 31, 2011 at 12:31 a.m.
Updated June 1, 2011 at 1:01 a.m.

A Goliad County Sheriff's patrol car guards the entrance to the pool where the drowning took place.

WATER SAFETY TIPS

Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. An adult who knows CPR should actively supervise children at all times

Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years old. This means the adult is within an arm's length of the child at all times.

Use a fence to separate the pool from the house. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children's reach

Keep rescue equipment, such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver and a telephone by the pool

Do not use air-filled "swimming aids" as a substitute for approved life vests

Remove all toys from the pool after use so children are not tempted to reach for them

After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can't get back into it

Fencing and power safety covers will not prevent all drownings

Remember, teaching your child how to swim does not mean your child is safe in water

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, aap.org

GOLIAD - The drowning deaths of a 2- and 3-year-old brother and sister have been ruled accidental by the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office in Austin.

Sage Rodriguez, 3, and her younger brother, Ramon Rodriguez, 2, were found in the family's home swimming pool on Monday morning, said Robert Whitaker, Victoria County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3.

Whitaker conducted the inquest and ordered the autopsy because the children were pronounced dead at DeTar Hospital Navarro in Victoria.

Charges will not be filed because of what the autopsy concluded, said Goliad County Sheriff Kirby Brumby.

The pool was fenced off and the area around the pool was fenced off, so it's unclear how the two children got into the pool, Brumby said. He added there were locks on the fence.

The family had moved to Goliad two weeks ago from Victoria, he added.

"They had hoped to make Goliad their home," he said.

Danielle Williams, the recreation specialist with the Victoria Parks and Recreation Department, was saddened by the news of the double drowning.

"It's very unfortunate," she said. "I'd hate for that to happen to anybody."

And with the summer swim season under way, the risk of drowning increases.

Williams recommended young children be supervised by adults anytime they are by or in water.

With home pools, she recommends trying to bar all access from the pool by adding fencing and locks.

If a child isn't a strong swimmer, the child should wear a safety vest even when supervised by an adult.

"Smaller children, they get really curious about the water," she said.

Advocate reporter Dianna Wray contributed to this report.

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