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It happened in an instant. Two-year-old Santino Dela’O fell into a pool and drowned on Saturday, even as he was surrounded by adults. “It was literally seconds, and they didn’t see him,” said Marlene Manzanares, a family friend.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years.

The toddler’s mother Jeanine Areas is pregnant, and the family buried a great-aunt a little over a month ago.

The parents, whose son Armando is a student at Buena Vista, want to raise awareness about pool safety, noting that this tragedy could happen to anyone.

Friends of the family are trying to help them cover the cost of the funeral by holding a fundraiser in the Mission District at Il Pirata Bar, 2007 16th St., from 6 -11:30 p.m. Donations can also be made directly to the funeral home, Valenti Marini Peralta at 4840 Mission St.

Water Safety Tips published by National Institutes of Health

Never leave your child alone near water, whether it’s a pool or the bathtub. Children can drown in as little as 4 cm (1½ inches) of water.

Home swimming pools should be surrounded on all sides by gates that are self-closing and self-latching from the inside. The gate latch should be above the reach of children and locked when not in use.

Government-approved personal flotation devices should be used by all young children and other children who cannot swim.

Toddlers and infants should be within an arm’s length of an adult when they’re around water (pools, bathtubs, beaches, etc). Infants who are placed in water must be held by an adult at all times.

Parents and pool owners should get training in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). They should also have an emergency action plan.

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