By Aparna Zalani

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Water is a refuge from Texas’ summer heat, but as we approach the unofficial start of summer this Memorial Day weekend, water safety experts are concerned about the increase in drowning deaths in Texas.

Hunter Hardin, 4, was a victim of near-drowning last summer in Trophy Club.

Hunter Hardin (credit: Harden family)

He was playing in the inflatable donut tube in his neighbor’s yard in August 2020. His mother and the neighbor’s family close by.

“Everything was fine,” mother Stacy Hardin recalls.

“When I looked up. I saw Hunter’s neon orange jumpsuit, at the bottom of the pool.”

The neighbor immediately jumped in, performed CPR and saved the little boy’s life. Someone called 911.

“He saved my little boy’s life.” Hardin told CBS 11.

It’s one part of his life Rohan Rumalla, 18, remembers well.

“It was right there,” he points to the exact spot in his backyard pool, where he almost died when he was 7.

“I ate a lot of pizza, I jumped straight back in the pool,” he said. “I just threw up underwater, and ended up passing out,” Rohan recalls.

He was airlifted to the hospital.

Both Hunter and Rohan were lucky. They received care right away because someone was watching them.

No one was watching 13-year-old Elise Cerami in 2016.

A competitive swimmer, she died in the school swimming pool during swim practice. The investigation found that Elise was underwater for nearly 10 minutes until she was found.

“She didn’t come home that day,” said her mother Lori Cerami.

Elise Cerami, 13 (credit: Cerami family)

Lori started a nonprofit in Elise’ memory called swim4elise to educate people about water safety– Including – providing swimmers “in-water rescue” skills.

“One of the things we learned was that there was a young lady that was in line next to a lady, she was doing a different stroke than some of the kids in the lane with Elise,” she said. “But this young girl didn’t know what drowning look like. So she just kept swimming.” she said.

Her organization wants to change that. She is teaching children who swim to recognize drowning and distress.

three potentially lifesaving lessons from three people who never knew anything about each other.

Hardin says that bright neon swimsuit saved her child’s life… “One thing i’ve learned is about, you know, really dressing the child in the bright colors, so that they don’t blend into the water blues and greens, your child disappears, a lifeguard will not see them,” she said.

Rohan raised $6,500 to replenish life jackets for Lake Grapevine’s “loan a life jacket” program.

Rohan Rumalla (credit: City of Grapevine)

Something he intends to continue this summer.

“I was saved by great medical care and the grace of God,” he said. “I feel like I was one of the reasons I was brought is to help people.”

​Lori says every bit counts when it comes to swim safety.

Her message:

–teach your children to swim and educate them about water safety
–wear bright swimsuits
–wear life jackets.

And most importantly– have someone watch your children at all times. ​everywhere.

“You should be watching searching the entire depth of that pool, not just the surface,” Cerami said.

In Texas most children die in their backyard pool. Water safety advocates say, limit inflatables in the pool and watch the children at all time. Keep that phone away when kids are in water.