OTTAWA - A 2 1/2-year-old boy found dead in a backyard swimming pool Wednesday morning in an east Ottawa neighbourhood, was a happy little boy very much adored by his family, his uncle said.
Emergency personnel raced the home to find a caregiver performing CPR on Jeremy Audet minutes after he was pulled from the pool at the residence, which is used as a private daycare.
Marc Potvin said the death of his nephew is a nightmare that could have been averted.
"He shouldn't die, he's only two-and-a-half," an emotional Potvin said at the scene shortly after Audet had been taken to CHEO with no vital signs.
"Parents need to know that you can't leave kids alone for even a minute when there's a pool around. Don't turn around. Never, never leave them for even two seconds."
A neighbour said emergency personnel arrived to find the boy being given CPR by the woman who lives at the address.
Ottawa Fire spokesman Marc Messier said his men took over before paramedics took him to the hospital.
Brenda Hipson said the woman she knows only as Wendy was trying to save the victim moments after she heard someone scream: "Get the children inside!"
Potvin said his nephew went to another home daycare in the area, but that the children had been brought to this other home for the day.
He said he was furious the boy had been brought there and had been allowed to have access to the pool.
"Because of this, he's dead," he said sobbing. "He was such a nice little boy, very small. He was always laughing, always joyful. He was the best little kid and he was my godchild. I can only imagine the fear that he had before he drowned."
He added that the boy's mother is pregnant and due in October.
Hipson said the daycare looks after five or six children and that others in the area occasionally organize events with each other.
"There are four daycares close to here and sometimes they meet at the park or organize activities together. I can't stress enough how careful she is with them," Hipson told QMI Agency of the caregiver.
The pool is in the backyard fenced off from the front with two closed gates.
A man named Steve, who only gave his first name, appeared stunned as he picked his five-year-old son up from the home.
"My wife called and told me there was a drowning," he said. "I was scared sh--less, terrified. I feel sick."
He added that in the four years his son had attended the daycare there had never been any major problems.