BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The weather is warming up and many of us will no doubt seek pools for comfort, so now is the time to think about water safety. A mother shared her heartbreaking story of what can go wrong when trying to enjoy the water.
Oliver Michael Shine of Las Vegas was found in a pool on Penzance Drive Saturday afternoon.
His mom says Oliver fell in the pool after he was left alone. This incident is a tragic reminder for parents to always be alert when it comes to pool safety.
“He was literally my sunshine,” said Oliver’s mother, Angelica Richards. “Never in a million years did I think last time I held him would be the last time I would hold him.”
Richards says Oliver was going away with his father and stepmother to Bakersfield to stay at his grandmother’s house.
“He wakes up the next morning and says ‘I’m going to California today.'”
But that excitement was cut short. Richards says Oliver was left unsupervised around the pool. No one realized he fell in, until it was too late.
“He must have fell in the pool,” said Richards. “When they went to check on him, they found him in the bottom of the pool.”
Richards says, although she is grieving for her little boy, there is anger because this tragedy was completely preventable.
“There was no gate around the pool,” said Richards. “Somebody needs to be watching them.”
Richards hopes her story will spare another family from going through the same heartache.
“I just don’t want his memory to fade away,” said Richards.
Kern County Water Watchers reports more than five drownings in our community ever year. 88% of those happen due to a lack of supervision.
“Look, lock, learn,” said Michelle Corson, of the Kern County Public Health Dept. “Make sure you know where your children are at all times … making sure that that pool has a fence around it that’s at least four feet tall … and learn hands-only CPR. This is life-saving.”
May marks water safety month. Officials urge parents, guardians and caretakers know the steps they need to take to keep kids safe.