Mum walked away for just seconds to get her son an iceblock, when she returned to find him floating unconscious in their backyard swimming pool.

Zac Daniels, 3, remains in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead but is expected to make a full recovery following the incident at his home on in Seven Hills about midday on Wednesday, shares SMH.

Zac’s grandmother, Irene Ekes, said the boy’s mother had left him unattended in the pool for “two seconds” to go inside. Zac was wearing a floatie in the above-ground pool at the time, she said.

“She [Zac’s mother] went inside to get him an iceblock. When she came back the floatie was on top of him,” Ms Ekes said, breaking down as she described what had happened.

“There was a lot of screaming. A neighbour was there, who helped.

“I can’t believe it, my little baby. He is such a happy boy too, who loves water. Unbelievable.”

Ms Ekes said the family was “devastated” by the incident.

“It’s terrible. I never want my grandkids to have a pool ever again.”

Zac was unresponsive when he was found in the pool and neighbours performed CPR on the child before emergency services arrived, a NSW Police spokeswoman said.

After paramedics took the boy to hospital, a distressed man could be seen in the backyard of the house slashing the pool with a knife to let the water out.

UPDATE 24 January 2017

Zac’s mother has said it was unrealistic to spend money on fencing the pool.

Despite government guidelines stating above-ground pools to be treated as in-ground pools if they are 30cm or taller, Zack’s mother, who did not wish to be named, disagreed, reports The Daily Telegraph.

“A lot of people have these small overground pools,’’ she said.

“The reason so many people have this pool is because it’s affordable, it’s what we can afford, it’s what everyone had.

“You’re not going to pay hundreds of dollars for fencing for a pool that you paid $100 for, it doesn’t make any sense.”

A Blacktown Council spokesman said the council had been unaware there was an above-ground pool at the home and was unable to check if it was in compliance with the state’s regulations.

But is has since written to the property owner, the Land and Housing Department, requesting the pool be fenced or removed.

“The tenant should have sought permission from the landlord, and if granted, there would have been a council pool inspection to make sure it was safe and complied with the regulations,” Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali said.

“Accidents only take a split second, but the results last a lifetime.’’

Zac was one very lucky little boy and has made a full recovery since the incident.

The statistics are horrifying

The 2016 drowning report from Royal Life Saving found between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2015, 83 drowning deaths in private pools were recorded.

The key findings related to appropriate supervision, pool fencing and emergency care.

• Supervision was completely absent in 59% of cases, with older siblings or other children left to supervise younger children in 6% of cases
• Among cases where it was known how long a child was left unsupervised for, 33% of children were left unattended for 5-10 minutes and 30% were left unattended for 3-5 minutes
• Among cases with information on fencing available, fencing was present in 27% of cases, absent in 27% of cases and faulty in 35% of cases
• Among cases with available information, children most commonly gained access to the pool through a faulty fence or gate (38%), lack of a fence (31%) or a gate which was propped open (18%)


Kidsafe Victoria’s summer pool safety tips:
•Never take your eyes off children around water; if you have to leave the water area for any reason, take the children with you.
•Appoint an adult as a designated supervisor, including at BBQ’s and pool parties. Never leave toddlers in the care of older children.
•When you are supervising toddlers, ensure that you are within arms’ reach at all times.
•Ensure that your pool safety barrier is secure and in proper working order.
•Never prop the pool gate open, this allows children easy and often unsupervised access to the pool area.
•Learn CPR and update your skills regularly. Resuscitation posters kept near pools are a good reminder.

Share your comments below.

Image stock photo

  • If you aren’t prepared to put up a regulation pool fence, simple –do not have a pool.
    Unfortunately it is legal to have an above ground pool if it is high enough. I have seen one that was about 1.5 metres high which did have a very strong cover on the top of it. The ladder was nowhere to be seen. Still don’t like the idea.


  • I had a pool and many times removed my children from the pool if I could not supervise.

    My daughter learnt to swim by two and I taught her how to save people even when they were in the bath I sat with them and if I stepped outside the door I kept speaking to them for those brief moments.
    Ignorance is no excuse when it is your child life. My children are not alive because of luck.


  • I am sorry for Zac, that his happened to him, I am pleased though that it sounds like he will make a full recovery.

    I simply do not understand why anyone thinks that it is still ok to leave a child of a young age (or one who cannot swim) in the pool even if they have floaties/floatation devices on – for “two seconds” – to run inside and grab an ice block takes longer than two seconds – that’s just fact!

    I am sorry but with all the backyard drownings and all the news reports and advertisements about children and water safety I do not understand what compelled his mother to go inside and get an ice block – no one’s child is immune from drowning it can happen to any child in any water anywhere – you cannot leave them unattended no matter what – if it is that important that you leave then take the child out of the pool – simple. It really is that simple.


  • Why aren’t parents listening?!!? The only way to keep your kids safe is to never take your eyes off them. Glad someone destroyed the pool


  • This proves again that you can’t leave you kid alone for 2 seconds !! I wouldn’t dream about having my 3 year old in the water and look even the other way. When I need to get something she’s coming with me no matter what.


  • Children of this age must be supervised for every second in the pool or water.


  • a horrible accident that could have been prevented!


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