Children’s Authority urges parents: Be careful with children around water

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this April 5 file photo, Karen Mahabir points to the inflatable pool where her great-granddaughter Maria Khan was found unresponsive. Photo by Marvin Hamilton

After two children drowned within a week of each other, the Children’s Authority is reminding parents to keep an eye out for their children around bodies of water.

A statement from the authority on April 5 said urging parents and guardians to be vigilant and observe the following:

Ensure children are always within sight near bodies of water

Don’t allow children to go into open waters by themselves

Don’t allow older children to supervise younger ones in open waters.

Ensure large containers of water such as buckets, barrels, bathtubs and basins are not within reach of younger children.

On April 4, three-year-old Maria Khan drowned in a small wading pool at her family’s home in Gasparillo. Police said the girl was submerged in 17 inches of water. Relatives tried to revive the child while the paramedics were called. She was taken alive from the scene but died while being treated.

Similarly, on March 30, seven-year-old Asaiah Josiah drowned in a swimming pool at his grandparents’ home in Tableland. His relatives and paramedics attempted life-saving measures, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Doctors at the Princes Town health facility were also unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead.

Police sources say investigations into the recent drownings are still ongoing. The source was unable to confirm if charges are to be laid.

In May 2014, 17-month-old Jadon Cudjoe died from hyperthermia due to extreme heat after his grandfather forgot him in the back seat of a car and went to work. The 56-year-old man returned to find the child unresponsive after being left in the car for more than eight hours.

In September 2016, a Belmont father of two was charged with negligence after his five-year-old son fell into a drain and drowned while unsupervised at home. Jerome Henry was charged with wilful neglect of his son, causing injuries resulting in his death and wilful neglect of his seven-year-old daughter, causing injuries to her physical and mental health.

In August 2021 the principal of an unregistered school was charged with the unlawful killing of two-year-old Romelu Drakes. The toddler was found at the bottom of a swimming pool at the school in March 2021.

In December a 49-year-old Scarborough mother of four was charged with four counts of child abandonment. The charge came after fire officers went to a fire at Milford Court. Whil investigating, they found four children ages ranging from nine-14 at home unsupervised.