Joined by Pool-Safety Experts, Granger Smith Hopes to Save Kids from Drowning — a 'Silent Killer'

Again, the Smiths hope others learn from their mistakes. While Amber had taken a CPR class in high school, both parents had to rely on a 911 dispatcher to help them perform it on a 3-year-old.

"A child takes much smaller compressions," explains Ramos, "and a child takes much more frequent and shorter breaths. So there is a skillset involved there, for sure."

Both Ramos and Martyak say water-safety awareness should extend to every large water vessel in the household, not just professionally installed pools.

"We say you've got to be careful with water around the house, whether it's in a swimming pool or whether it's just a spa, an above-ground pool, a wading pool, a bathtub or a bucket of water," says Martyak. "If you keep a bucket of water in the backyard, kids can see the water, they splash, they fall in, and they drown because their head's in there."

If approached responsibly and respectfully, Ramos says, water shouldn't be something to fear. "Let's not forget that water is fun, enjoyable, therapeutic," he says. "It just comes with a specific set of rules to pay attention to. We're not natural-born swimmers, but there is no question that water is part of our being. I just always feel I need to remind people that."

The Red Cross offers a free online course, "Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers," that focuses on developing an awareness of the risks of drowning and how to minimize them. Also, its Water Safety for Kids site offers age-appropriate videos, activities and quizzes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission's Pool Safely program offers online and print resources for parents and caregivers to learn the facts about drowning and get tips about water safety.

For more from Granger Smith, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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