2-year-old dies more than a week after being pulled from Ham Lake pond

The boy had been at Lions Park with family and friends.

A young Coon Rapids boy pulled unresponsive from an Anoka County pond more than a week ago has died.

Uriel Umzee Remi, 2 years old, died at Children's Minneapolis on June 20, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Wednesday. 

Remi was at Lions Park in Ham Lake with friends and family on June 12. The boy was found unresponsive in a pond at the park, with people on the scene attempting life-saving measures.

Remi was airlifted to Children's Minneapolis, and at the time authorities didn't have an update on his condition.

He died eight days later. The medical examiner listed the cause as freshwater drowning, and said the Anoka County Sheriff's Office is investigating the accident.

An alarming rise in drownings

Both the Minnesota DNR and health experts have highlighted a troubling rise in drowning incidents so far in 2021, likely driven by the hot, dry weather that is pushing people to the lakes.

Hennepin Healthcare said trauma experts have been "alarmed" at the increase in child drownings this spring and summer. The health system said it has recorded 25 drowning deaths through June 13. One-fifth of those have been children aged 4-12.

"With the Independence Day holiday coming up and continued warm weather, we want to make sure that everyone is aware of how quickly this can happen – and how easily these tragedies can be entirely prevented," said Julie Philbrook, RN, trauma prevention specialist at Hennepin Healthcare.

The DNR, meanwhile, said the start of summer has been "busier than usual" on the water, resulting in a higher number of incidents. 

The agency includes some tips for staying safe in the water:

  • Children and adults should always wear a life jacket around the water
  • Designating a "water watcher" whose sole job for a set period of time is to keep an eye on people in the water
  • Provide constant supervision to children who are in or near the water
  • Remember that drowning often occurs silently, not with the yelling, screaming and arm-waving often seen in depictions
  • Only swim in designated swimming areas

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