Jacksonville mother speaks about drowning

Parents reminded to be vigilant about pool safety

By Scott Johnson - Reporter , Elizabeth Berry

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After a 5-year-old boy drowned Monday in St. Johns County, a local mom reached out to Channel 4 about her own experience, losing a child to drowning.

Andrea Kountz told Channel 4 Monday's drowning should act as a reminder to parents that they can never be too careful, Kountz lost her son when he was three to a terrible accident.

"He loved the water a little too much," said Kountz. "His dad was a surfer, and we were trying to get him to surf. When he was 2 he was almost able to swim, but the weather got too cold. So when 3 came around he wanted to go faster on his little tricycle around the pool. Well, I was in the other room and did not know that."

Kountz told Channel 4 that she hopes telling her story will help save lives and comfort a St. Johns County family who lost their 5-year-old Monday afternoon.

"My prayers go out to them. There's nothing harder than this is for them, and I know it's not going to get easier anytime soon. But like everyone told me it does take time, it gets a little easier, but it never goes away," said Kountz.

The medical examiner's office ruled Monday's drowning as accidental, but details are still being investigated by the Department of Children and families and the St. Johns County Sheriff's office.

In Kountz's case, she said she was only away for a moment and her son figured out how to get to the pool.

"The doctor came out and asked how long he was away from my eyesight, and I said just long enough to get my water and brush my teeth. Well, they did a water test on his lungs, three and a half minutes. That is all it takes," said Kountz.

Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths in children under the age of 5. Drowning is the No. 2 cause of injury death in children between ages 5 and 19 years old.

There is information on the Department of Children and Families' website that is specifically dedicated to drowning prevention for children.

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