If parents believe a fence with a gate is enough to prevent a toddler from gaining access to a backyard pool, a mother from Australia has a video to prove otherwise.
Krystal Hill, from Perth, posted a video on Facebook of the frightening moment her son Isaiah, 3, climbed on the roof of a toy car and opened the latch on their pool's gate.
"I watched my 3-year-old who can't swim independently yet, climb up and open the pool gate and then let himself and his little sister into the pool area,'' she wrote. "I am in a bit of shock at the moment!
"And yes I sat back and watched it happen because I wanted to see if he could actually open it and I have filmed it to show parents that sometimes just a pool gate isn’t enough. We will now be padlocking the gate but this is still no guarantee. They can’t be out the back without full supervision anymore and if I’m busy doing something else inside I will be locking the back door. I am a bit shaken up over this."
She wrote in a subsequent Facebook post that she received an outpouring of messages from parents thanking her for posting the video or sharing their stories of losing a child to drowning in a backyard pool.
"If it prevents even just one child from drowning then I am happy,'' she wrote.
Hill told the Australian morning show "Sunrise" that she is hoping other parents can learn a lesson from the video, which has been viewed nearly 2 million times.
"It showed me that you can't rely on a pool fence,'' she said. "I think a lot of parents have the false sense of security that because the fence is there, they're not gonna drown, they're not gonna get into the pool area, but that took him less than a minute to get over that fence."
Hill couldn't believe what was happening as she watched the moment unfold.
"Just total amazement,'' she said. "It took me days to get over that. I was in shock. It was a bit surreal, and I kept thinking, what would've happened if I hadn't have been there? I would've walked out to something horrific. So yeah, it was quite frightening."
Hill was grateful to witness it.
"So for me, it was more peace of mind to actually see him do it and know that he could do it while I was there than to think while I was inside doing the washing or something and I go out and find the worst, so I wanted to actually watch it,'' she said.
She initially filmed it for her husband so they could take appropriate measures to make the area safer, but then decided to share it on Facebook to warn other parents of the potential danger.
The family has since had a load-bearing cover installed that can be rolled over the top of the pool. Both Isaiah and his younger sister have been taking swimming lessons, and Hill has made sure they are never unsupervised while in the backyard.
The drowning danger for young children in backyard pools was highlighted in 2018 when Olympic skier Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan, lost their 1-year-old daughter when she drowned in a neighbor's backyard pool while Morgan and their older children were visiting.
The couple have since made it their mission to promote pool safety and swim lessons for children as young as 6 months old.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges parents to "never — even for a moment — leave children alone near open bodies of water, such as lakes or swimming pools, nor near water in homes (bathtubs, spas)," the group said on its website.