Autism advocate asks public to sympathize with parents who lost child in accidental drowning

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An 8-year-old boy is dead, after what police are calling an accidental drowning.

Saturday was Jacob Davis’ birthday. But sadly Saturday night, Metro Police say the 8-year-old’s body was found in a backyard swimming pool.

Several people on social media are asking where his parents were during all of this. But autism advocates say not to place blame on anyone just yet, because raising a child with autism can be challenging.

Davis was reported missing earlier in the evening, believed to have walked away from his home near E. Russell Road and Mountain Vista Drive. Detectives say the boy had autism.

“When you think they’re safe, you can’t ever know,” said autism awareness advocate Melanie Bash.

Bash works with various autism-related organizations across the valley. She has a son with autism, and she says children who have the disorder have trouble expressing themselves. She knows from personal experience that children with autism often run off, without their parents even knowing.

“Sometimes it just happens in a flash and I felt so awful leaving him for two minutes, and you just never know when they’re going to decide to do that,” Bash said. “My heart hurts so badly for that family.”

Bash says people should not blame Jacob Davis’ parents or family members without knowing what exactly led up to his death.

“You can watch so much, and you can eyes in the back of your head so much,” Bash said.

Dr. Marc Jeser is the director of the emergency room department at Summerlin Hospital. He says there is an uptick in drownings during the summer months. When it comes to child drownings in general, he says brain damage can happen almost instantly.

“After about four minutes of no oxygen, no breathing, you’re starting to talk about no-air or no oxygen to the brain,” Dr. Jeser said.

Dr. Jeser says child-proof locks, pool alarms and protective fencing are good investments. Additionally, he encourages adults and children to get CPR certified.

“The more we learn, the more tools we have to prevent it,” Bash said.

Metro Police say the department’s Abuse Neglect Section is investigating this death, although hey believe it was an accidental drowning. Metro is expected to release more information on Monday.

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