NewsRegion S Palm Beach CountyBoynton Beach

Actions

Baby girl drowns days before first swimming lesson

Family urging pool safety
Posted: 8:59 PM, Jul 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-27 21:02:06-04

A Boynton Beach family is opening up about a recent tragedy in hopes of saving even one person from feeling the loss they are dealing with right now. 

"Keeping this pain away from any other mom, any other dad -- that's what made them willing to open up and speak," said Luckens Briseus, Soraya's uncle and godfather.

Their baby girl drowned last Sunday, less than a week before she was scheduled to take swimming classes. 

Drowning is the most common accidental death among children ages 1 to 4. 

On Friday, her family -- speaking through her  -- shared with me their hope that no one else will ever have to feel their pain.

"Soraya has to be the bravest little child you ever met," said Briseus.

She was about to turn two years old in August and had an infectious smile and personality.

"She had an impact on everybody who ever met her. Period," he said.

Briseus said his sister always kept an extremely close eye on Soraya at all times.

"She had her under lock and key," he said.

But on July 22 at her family home, Soraya wandered into the backyard. The home did not have a pool fence around the pool.

"Somehow, some way, she got into the back and found her way into the pool," he said.

Briseus said everything happened so fast. Her family started CPR and even her neighbors even jumped the fence to come over and help.

"Firefighters came, they did everything they could but you can't turn back time," said Briseus. "No matter how hard everybody fought, you can't fight God."

She drowned just days before she was supposed to take her first swimming class. Her parents are now urging other families to be vigilant.

"It can happen to anybody," said Briseus. "Put a gate up, put a fence up around your pool. Don't let your child alone in the tub for any amount of time at all. At all."

Eric Lupton's Delray Beach-based company, Life Saver Pool Fence , is stepping in to help the family.

"For every pool fence we sell, we set aside pool fencing to be donated to a family that has had a fatal or nonfatal drowning incident," he said.

His pool fencing company is donating a safety fence to the family, which they can choose to donate to another family in need.

"The key to preventing drowning is layers of protection," he said. "The CDC says having a pool fence reduces your chance of a drowning by 88 percent."

For now, Soraya's family is planning her funeral and is thanking the community for their support during this difficult time.

"We don't want any other mom to feel what my sister is feeling right now," said Briseus.

Soraya had received a scholarship from the Palm Beach Gardens-based Live Like Jake Foundation -- which helps families access life-saving swim classes. They are now offering condolences to the family.

A GoFundMe page to help the family cover funeral expenses has raised more than $8,000 so far -- but the family is only halfway to their goal. Click here to for more information .