Boy, 4, who couldn’t swim found floating after dad left him alone at water park

The boy was found floating under the water by a female swimmer in the adult pool in Burnham on Crouch, Somerset

A four-year-old boy almost drowned after his father left him alone in a toddler pool to go on a water slide.

The father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was slammed by a judge for leaving his son alone for “a momentary frolic”.

The boy was left alone in a special toddler part of the pool at Brean Leisure Park in Burnham on Crouch, Somerset, before he made his way into the adult pool.

He was found floating under the water by a female swimmer who felt her foot brush against something on the bottom.

The father had taken the boy swimming after an argument with his former partner and forgot to take his son’s armbands.

He was charged with causing unnecessary suffering of a child under 16 following the incident in August 2018.

Emma Martin, prosecuting at Taunton Crown Court, said: “This was a tragic case of a momentary error of judgement on the defendant’s part.

“He didn’t take arm bands with him knowing full well that his son couldn’t swim

He went with his son to the small toddler area. The defendant decided to go on the flume himself leaving his son to play in the toddler area.

“By the time he came back his son wasn’t where he left him.”

The court heard the man’s son, who was just four and a half at the time of the incident, had climbed out of the small toddler area and gone into the adult pool.

Mrs Harding, a swimmer who was in the adult pool at the time of the incident, said she felt her foot ‘brush something’ during her swim and was shocked when she saw the body of a child floating under the water.

Mrs Martin said Mrs Harding pulled the boy to safety and put him on the side of the pool but lifeguards and swimmers were ‘shocked’ and ‘didn’t know what to do’ so the boy lay motionless on the side of the pool for a few minutes.

The court heard off duty paramedic Emma Aims then ran over to the scene and started to resuscitate the boy and luckily he regained consciousness after coughing up a large amount of water.

The boy was taken to Bristol Children’s Hospital for treatment and stayed in their high dependency unit for two days.

The court heard when the father called his former partner to tell her what had happened he lied he had ‘just popped to the toilet’ when the incident happened and also lied when interviewed by police.

Mrs Martin said the man later called the police and admitted he had left the child unattended and said the son has made a full recovery.

Defending, Charlotte Pitts said the defendant and his former partner broke up shortly after the incident but said he managed to rebuild the relationship with his son and sees him on a regular basis.

Ms Pitts said the man is ‘deeply remorseful’ for his actions and said references describe him as a ‘great father and friend’.

Sentencing, Judge David Ticehurst, said: “This must have been any parent’s nightmare.

“What was wrong as you may realise was to leave your son for a momentary frolic and forget about him.

“If you had just turned away (from the slide) none of this would have happened, your son wouldn’t have had to spent two days in hospital.

“I have no doubt that you feel remorse after this incident.

Any parent could go and do something with their children and think, if only I had taken things a bit more carefully.

“Don’t you dare leave him alone again.”

Judge Ticehurst sentenced the man to an 18 month conditional discharge and ordered that £250 of public money be given to Mrs Harding and Emma Aims to recognise the efforts they made in rescuing the boy.

He was also ordered to pay £250 in costs including £200 to the two ladies who saved his son’s life.