By Kristina Rex

METHUEN (CBS) – Methuen Deputy Fire Chief Dan Donahue knows what it’s like to respond when a child has nearly died after wandering into a backyard pool. His firefighters rescued a three-year-old girl in Summer 2019. “All it takes is a second,” he said.

Though the first official day of summer is this weekend, officials are warning about pool safety already, after two young children nearly drowned in Middlesex County in one week.

One child in Shirley and another in Weston are expected to recover after close calls in their family pools.

“We’ve had two very close calls,” District Attorney Marian Ryan said.

Since the pandemic began, backyard pool sales have surged, since people are spending more time at home. Safety experts worry that more pools means greater risk of drowning.

READ: Water Safety Tips From Middlesex District Attorney’s Office

“During this time that we have been in the house, we’ve all gotten very used to multitasking with kids and work,” DA Ryan said. “And really for young kids especially, just a second of them not being watched is often enough time for them to get into trouble.”

For that reason, they’re begging people to be extra vigilant. “You need to pick an adult and be very specific about, for the next five minutes, they need to watch a particular child,” DA Ryan explained.

And if a young child goes missing, Deputy Chief Donahue added, “First place you should look is the water. The extra time looking could be the difference between life and death.”

Kristina Rex

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