A two-year-old girl, Hannah Kealy, tragically lost her life after falling into a paddling pool in her childminder’s garden. The incident occurred on July 20th, 2022, and Hannah was pronounced dead four days later at Children’s Health Ireland, Temple Street in Dublin.
Hannah’s mother, Marie Kealy, dropped her off at the home of childminder Ann McDonald that morning. Hannah was initially apprehensive about being back with the childminder after her vacation, but she was reassured that she would have a great time in the paddling pool. However, at around 10:24 am, Marie received a call informing her that Hannah had fallen into the pool and was unresponsive. She rushed to the hospital, where she was faced with the uncertainty of her daughter’s fate.
In her testimony, Ann McDonald, the childminder, stated that it seemed like any other day. She had given Hannah breakfast, and while Karen Lawlor arrived with her children, Hannah was still inside the house. Within minutes of speaking with Karen, Ann heard mention of Hannah being in the pool. To her horror, she found Hannah face down in the water. She immediately put her in the recovery position and called for help.
Karen Lawlor, a witness at the inquest, recalled hearing Ann screaming her name and rushed to assist. She described Hannah’s face as pale after she was pulled from the pool. Karen started chest compressions, and water spurted from Hannah’s mouth. Paramedics arrived shortly after and managed to detect a weak pulse. Unfortunately, it was determined that Hannah had gone without oxygen for a significant period, resulting in a brain injury and, ultimately, her death.
During the investigation, it was discovered that a toy tractor was found next to the paddling pool, leading Garda Brian Kelly to speculate that Hannah might have used it to access the pool. He also estimated the water depth to be between 2 to 2.5 feet. Following a postmortem examination, the coroner determined that Hannah’s cause of death was accidental drowning, with pneumonia as a contributing factor.
The coroner expressed her condolences to Hannah’s family, acknowledging the devastating loss they had experienced. She praised the quick response from those involved in the incident and mentioned that Hannah’s organs had been donated to help others. This tragedy serves as a reminder of the importance of constant vigilance, especially when children are near bodies of water.
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