Real-life drowning isn't what you'd expect: Geauga mother recounts losing son with life guards on hand

GEAUGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - For the first time, Laura DeFranco is talking about the drowning of her son in hopes she can save another family from suffering this tragedy.

She says it's a day she'll never forget.

"I'd taken both the kids life jackets off, they both had life jackets and it was that three minutes, three minutes," she said.

Her 3-year-old son, Dominic, drowned in 1997 at a country club in Westlake.

"My son died in a clear water  pool and there were life guards on duty and active swimmers and we had life jackets on."

She says Dominic's death was ruled accidental, and he didn't show signs that he was drowning.

"I took his life jacket off. I was dressing his older brother and he slipped into the pool. Everybody is still swimming," she said describing the scene.

Experts say, the waving, splashing and cries typically don't happen in real life.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, every day about 10 people die from unintentional drowning.

Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger.

Drowning ranks 5th among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.

"We did all the safety precautions with our kids but this was a tragedy," said DeFranco.

She says she's blessed with two other children and that she took precautions to make sure they were prepared.

"I had the choice of putting my daughter in bubble wrap or I had the choice of letting her taking swim lessons because this girl has to live," she said.

She wears a silver pendant around her neck, Saint Dominic, to remember her late son.

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