Coroner, Experts Discuss 3-Year-Old's Drowning Death

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental deaths among children, according to water safety experts.

Two days following the drowning of a 3-year-old at a swim club in Newtown Square, the Montgomery County coroner provided greater context for the girl’s death.

and ambulance responded at 4:49 p.m. Saturday to in Newtown Square, where someone was already administering CPR to the girl when they arrived, Newtown Township Chief of Police Dennis Anderson said Saturday.

3, was pronounced dead at 5:40 p.m. Saturday at Bryn Mawr Hospital, and Montgomery County Coroner Walter Hofman . Despite requests from concerned family friends to both him and to Patch asking that he retract his statements, he said his statements were based on facts, both from police reports and from witness accounts.

“The father said he and his wife were talking to other adults near the pool, went looking for her, did not see her in the baby pool…and saw her floating in the (middle) pool,” Hofman said. “They lost sight of the baby.”

Experts like Mario Vittone and Shawn P. DeRosa said numerous factors contribute to childhood drowning, which they said is the second leading cause of accidental deaths among children younger than 15.

“Ninety percent of kids that drowned are considered to be supervised when it happens,” said Vittone, a maritime expert with the U.S. Coast Guard based in Norfolk, Va. “Unlike on TV, it happens in 20 to 60 seconds and is silent.”

An acquatics director and safety coordinator at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, DeRosa said monitoring children in water is different than at home. 

“Children, as any parent can attest, can quickly get away from you… Drowning is silent and deadly,” DeRosa said. “There might not be screams, no crying,” he said, advising parents to remain in water with small children and within an arm’s reach.

Vittone, who runs a water safety website, said childhood drownings are “almost always are about losing sight of the kid.”

In an example, Vittone described a scenario with a competent lifeguard monitoring the situation.

“With 20 kids playing, the lifeguard can’t always see that kid in the back,” he said.

Both Vittone and DeRosa hailed work done by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance as a resource for parents to consult in pool safety. Vittone also noted a recently launched federal program called PoolSafely.gov.

Many family friends said in calls and emails that the Logans are great people and great parents.

Several readers who did not know the family expressed their sympathy in emails to Patch.

“I am so, so sorry about the awful news,” wrote reader Mandy Meiler. “It is all I can think about, and we don’t even know you. We have three girls. I cannot imagine how terrible life is for you right now. Take care, and know that many thoughts are with you.”

Another wrote:

“We did not know this sweet angel Joanie, but she and her family have been in our constant prayers. May her beautiful family find strength in each other and their way to eventual healing. God bless her parents.”

luckymac June 03, 2011 at 01:53 AM
C sloan- do you feel that your words, pointing out where the responsibility lies, are of any comfort at this time? Are you forced to wake up and relive the loss of your child every day as these parents are? No one needs to be told more than a parent of a 3 year old about undivided attention- trust me, I have a daughter the same age. Maybe you failed to think about the atmosphere of the pool that day or you didnt know they have another child of a younger age that could have grabbed their attention in the 18 seconds of time that took their 3 year olds life. Do you think these 2 people dont feel responsible for something of this nature?? You must not be in the presence of a 3 year old very often to be able to even think that thought let alone post that on here. Shame on you for expressing your ignorant opinion at this tragic time. I just hope her parents dont stumble across your comment bc the thought of the amount of pain it could inflict on them as they deal with the loss of their daughter makes me wonder what kind of person you are. Do the world a favor and keep your thoughtless words to your self . Make that the silent vow you take
Kate June 03, 2011 at 03:37 AM
C Sloan. You have a lot to say , you are very judge mental... It was a tragic accident and nothing will ever make these parents feel better . You obviously have not ever been distracted while do two things at one time. Shame on you for your comments. Why don't you just keep these people in your prayers. Remember if you do not have anything nice to say , say nothing at all ...
Ellie June 03, 2011 at 04:34 AM
C Slone. It must be wonderful to be a perfect person! Here I believed only Jesus was born that way. But in his perfection, he was also filled with love and compassion for human-kind. Where is yours? Unless you have walked in the same shoes....
Barbara Pisano June 03, 2011 at 11:10 AM
I agree with Kate and Luckymac shame on you c Sloan for adding your ignorant 2 cents .What a tragedy these people are enduring with years and years of pain still to come.My prayers are with you Mr and Mrs Logan and family and friends for your tragic loss.May God give you some peace knowing He is holding her in the palm of His hand in Paradise.Love and God Bless
Joe Pepe June 03, 2011 at 12:00 PM
C Sloan -- Unbelievable! In the time it took to write your comment, it never occurred to you that perhaps this grief stricken family does not need your infinite wisdom just yet, or ever ? Where is your sense of consideration ? This leaves me exasperated, speechless....Unbelievable! Logan family, my heart goes out to you. Please endure. Your daughter would want it that way.


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