Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among chil - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1-4

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SHARON, Pa. -

Five years ago this Friday is a day the Lapcevich family of Sharon will never forget.

On June 20, 2009, Stone Lapcevich, who was just three at the time, fell into a family pond while his father, older brother, uncles and cousins worked to build a pavilion just feet away.

"All of us immediately ran to the pond and pulled him out. He was like a rag doll. I mean lifeless," said Stone's father Justin Lapcevich.

Without thinking, Justin and Stone's uncle, who are both CPR certified, began to clear water from Stone's chest as they waited for a helicopter to arrive.

"It happened like we had almost rehearsed it because everybody had a part and they did their part," said Stone's uncle, George Colich.

Unfortunately, though, not every family is as lucky. Already this year, a number of people from Ohio, including a Youngstown State University student and several toddlers, have drowned.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between the ages of one and four, and for every child that dies from drowning, another four children are hospitalized from near-drowning incidents.

"A person who struggles in the water doesn't look like the person on “Baywatch” where they are flailing around. Generally, if a person is too tired to keep their head above water, they're going to go under silently," said Davis YMCA aquatics director Chris Hughes.

Hughes says adults should designate a water watcher when kids are near or in the water. Children should also never swim alone or rely on a floatation device. They are not substitutes for a person's ability to swim. In addition, Hughes suggests having a phone nearby in case of an emergency, locking access to a pool when it's not in use and surrounding yourself with people who are CPR certified, like the Lapcevich family did.

"The pavilion actually that they were building my father-in-law has named the Lucky Stone Pavilion since his name is Stone and I very often call him my lucky Stone because I don't know what I would have done if it would have turned out differently," said Stone's mother Kerry Lapcevich.


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