LAGUNA HILLS (CBS) — A 4-year-old girl drowned in a whirlpool spa during a weekend birthday party in Laguna Hills, prompting authorities Monday to alert the public about water safety for children.

Allison Susman slipped into the spa in an apartment complex in the 25000 block of Stockport Street about 8 p.m. Saturday, said Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino.

About 60 parents and children were at the party, but the tot was left unobserved for about 15 minutes, according to Amormino, who said it appears to be a “tragic accident.”

Ernie Susman, Allison’s father, said his daughter died because nobody watched her.

“She was at a pool party with her mom; mom was getting ready to leave. But then our 2-month-old started crying. Mom started breastfeeding the baby, knowing Allison had her vest on,” he said.

Susman bought a life vest for Allison on Friday. He wanted to use it to teach her to swim. What Susman didn’t know is that she could unsnap the vest.

The girl was pronounced dead about 8 p.m. Sunday at Children’s Hospital Orange County.

It’s a good practice to have someone stationed at both ends of a pool to keep an eye on kids during gatherings, Amormino said.

“It’s always important for someone to keep an eye on the kids and the deep end of the swimming pool and Jacuzzi,” he said. “In a matter of seconds, a child could drown.”

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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