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Spring Hill boy, 1, squeezed past pool barrier

SPRING HILL — A plastic barrier blocked the walkway to the water, and three older siblings were supervising. But none of them was able to save 1-year-old Bisher Hiba, who drowned in his family's pool Monday morning.

Bisher, whose name was released Tuesday, was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where doctors pronounced him dead at 11:48 a.m.

The toddler's three siblings — ages 14, 12 and 10 — watched their younger brother while their parents, Rodwan and Salma Al-Kassas Hiba, were in another part of the home, according to a statement released by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday. Two of Bisher's siblings were watching a movie while the third was doing schoolwork. Their names were not released.

Authorities think Bisher began to wander and made his way onto the deck of the pool. A sliding glass door that led to the pool deck was open, but a plastic barricade blocked the path. Authorities think Bisher squeezed between the barricade and the door and fell into the pool, the news release said.

When the siblings realized their brother was missing, they found him floating in the pool and pulled him out of the water. They yelled for their parents, and their father, a gastroenterologist, performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

The drowning is still being investigated, but the Sheriff's Office says there is no indication the incident is anything other than an accidental drowning, according to the news release.

Messages left with Rodwan Hiba's office seeking comment were not returned Tuesday.

A funeral service was held at the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area in Tampa on Tuesday evening. Bisher's body was buried in Thonotosassa.

Michael Sanserino can be reached at msanserino@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1430.

>>fast facts

Steps to make your backyard pool safer

Install barriers. A four-sided fence that is 4 feet or higher, with narrow openings, is one key barrier. The gates should be self-closing and self-latching, and a child should not be able to reach the latch.

Supervise. Never leave small children unattended around any body of water (pool, bathtub, lake, etc.). Small children don't often think of water as a danger and they are, by nature, curious.

Prepare for an emergency. Have

a cordless phone, emergency numbers, a first-aid kit and rescue equipment near the pool. Learn CPR and first aid.

Encourage older children and adolescents to learn how to swim. But even good swimmers can drown. Swimming lessons are no substitute for supervision of young children in and around water, and no one should ever swim alone.

Never dive or jump into shallow water.

Source: Hernando County Sheriff's Office

Spring Hill boy, 1, squeezed past pool barrier 05/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:26pm]
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