An 18-month-old boy is in critical condition after being found floating, face down, in his grandparent's back yard in Staten Island yesterday morning. Robert Helbig, who was being cared for by his grandparents, apparently fell in the pool—which does not have a fence around it—had no pulse and was in cardiac arrest before neighbors started to do CPR.
The boy then vomited water and was transported to Staten Island University Hospital. Neighbor Carmine Longovardi said there was panic, "We heard screams, my daughter started screaming. We all ran across the street. I saw grandfather was on the floor with the baby and the grandmother was screaming. I just told the grandfather to start giving him CPR. He started giving him mouth to mouth, and I hit him in the chest...[Robert's] eyes were closed, water was coming out of his mouth. Looked like he had a lot of water in him. The grandmother said she was upstairs cleaning, and she was yelling at her husband, 'Where were you? Where were you? You were supposed to be watching the baby!' And he didn't know what to say."
Neighbor Andrew Aswad, a certified EMT who also helped, told the Daily News, "I just pray and hope he'll be okay. He got a pulse. He's doing a lot better than he was." And other neighbors told the Staten Island Advance, "They are great grandparents, great neighbors. They are dedicated. They were overprotective. They walked out every day with him in the carriage," and "I feel so bad for them, they watch the baby all the time. You never know. Kids sneak out the door real quick."
In May, a 14-month-old fell into a Staten Island backyard pool and later died from his injuries. The city requires a four-foot fence around pools.