Albert Passavanti knew something could go awfully wrong when saw his son Rocco, 1, walking inside the fenced pool area and chasing an inflatable ball floating on the water at his home in West Palm Beach.
“Rocco noticed the ball get blown across the pool and he went for it,” Passavanti said on Facebook.
Within 12 seconds little Rocco found himself underwater and quickly sinking to the bottom of the pool.
Luckily, Passavanti’s parental instincts kicked in and he ran over to the pool, jumped the 4-foot-tall fence, brought Rocco back up to the surface, and prevented a tragic drowning.
“Rocco is getting faster and more daring,” the relieved father said.
The toddler found his way into the water on the sunny and very hot afternoon even though a security fence was already erected around the pool. The father admitted he and the other three adults should have closed the gate.
“Baby gates only work when you close them,” Passavanti said. “The gate is always shut unless there’s a capable adult present.”
A Florida dad dives head-first over a four-foot fence into a pool to rescue his young son from drowning. pic.twitter.com/o1i6it0bXu
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) June 27, 2019
He is now taking the opportunity to help Rocco learn to swim and promised to never stop supervising his son, especially when there is a large body of water nearby.
“Us parents are stepping up our preventative measures including swim lessons but can’t stress enough, nothing is as effective as watching your kids very closely,” he said.
Reflecting on the incident, Passavanti said he felt like he was suddenly granted super powers to rescue Rocco.
“The second you see it, you get Superman strength and just have to go for it, whatever you got to do,” he told CNN. “It didn’t even cross my mind to go around, it was point a to point b.”
This dad bolted over a 4-foot fence, rather than going around it, to save his son from drowning.
“The second you see it; you get Superman strength and just have to go for it, whatever you got to do,” the Florida father told a CNN affiliate. https://t.co/4mla416Dg2
— CNN (@CNN) June 25, 2019
SEE IT: ‘Superman’ dad leaps over gate to save toddler son in Florida poolhttps://t.co/ouIqlQo2gk
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 26, 2019
— WPTV (@WPTV) June 25, 2019
The Palm Beach County’s Drowning Prevention Coalition revealed the number one cause of drowning in both Palm Beach County and the United States is “unsupervised water activity.”
The organization’s mission is to prevent drowning, near-drowning, and other water-related incidents in Palm Beach County through educating residents on water safety and basic rescue techniques.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) similarly found drowning to be the number one cause of death among children aged between 1 and 4. A 2019 AAP study found almost 1,000 children in the United States drowned in 2017.
“The AAP urges parents to be within an arm’s length when young children are around or in water,” the organization said, according to CNN. “Parents should avoid becoming distracted by other activities such as cellphone use or drinking alcohol [while] caregivers should also consider learning CPR, teaching their children water-safety skills, and putting life jackets on their kids.”