Toddler dies after falling in Paso Robles pool

May 10, 2013

poolA 3-year-old boy died last weekend after falling into a backyard pool in Paso Robles. [Tribune]

Justin Vargas-Smith was the only child of Brittany Vargas of Templeton and Justin Smith of Bakersfield and had just turned three in April.

On Saturday afternoon, Vargas-Smith was playing near an above-ground pool at a residence in the 100 block of Vine Street. Brittany Vargas noticed that her child had disappeared and soon found him under the solar cover of the pool. Bill Martin, a family friend, performed CPR on the toddler, and paramedics took the boy to Twin Cities Hospital in Templeton around 4:50 p.m.

A helicopter then transported Vargas-Smith to Children’s Hospital Central California, where doctors pronounced him dead at 7:47 p.m.

The Paso Robles Police Department is still investigating the death, but Lt. Tim Murphy said it appears to be a “tragic accident.”

Martin said Vargas-Smith was a friendly, funny young boy.

“He was always smiling and playing,” Martin said.

Christine Vargas will host a memorial service for her son at 4 p.m. Friday at 1217 Echo Court in Paso Robles.


Downtown Bob

Horrible tragedy praying for the family. Pools are dangerous for kids, actually 4x as dangerous as guns if you go by number of kids killed in backyard pools compared to gun of all types.


This is Bill, I am the Bill in the story. Christine is the Aunt of the child. Brittany is the mother. Its a very very sad and tragic story. Please pray for the Family


“Justin Vargas-Smith was the only child of Brittany Vargas”

“Christine Vargas will host a memorial service for her son at 4 p.m. Friday”

So is the mothers name Brittany or Christine?

Regardless I send my heartfelt condolences, so unfortunate to lose one so little.


Maybe she’s the grandmother or other relative? Could have been more clear, I agree.


I certainly would not rush to any judgement on negligence here. 3 year olds can be shockingly adept at getting themselves into trouble…with or without adult supervision. Should there have been a locked gate and fence…yes. but the best attempts to protect a child can still be thwarted in one horrible moment.

My prayers are with the family in this difficult time.


That is all true. This is why I never let my kids (when they were toddlers) play near the street, the river, the lake, etc. unless someone was with them.

Sure, it could have just been a very unfortunate combination of variables that led to a tragedy. I hope the family can turn this corner when they are ready. It is a hard road to travel.


Two needed corrections: It was an above ground pool with a solar cover–not an in ground pool as pictured. Christine Vargas is the aunt–not the Mom– who is hosting the memorial service.


That is even worse! It is hard to fall into an above-ground pool, unless the toddler was totally unsupervised! Holy cow!


While tragic, who lets a toddler “play near” any pool without eyes on him/her at all times? I fell into a covered pool when I was about this boy’s age, I did not know what a pool cover was, and thought it was a walkable surface, so I just walked out onto it… VWOOOM! It was a total blur as I was immediately surrounded by the cover (not the thicker kind, more of a heavy-duty trashbag thickness). Thankfully, there were adults there to pull me out.

It is not a pleasant experience, and I am thankful people were paying better attention than I was. I have a very slight fear of covered pools (not open water or uncovered ones, ironically), and am very hesitant to let my children near them at any time.


r0y, don’t be so quick to judge this poor family. None of us were there that afternoon. From what the Fibune article says, this was a situation that could have happened to ANY of us. These poor young parents are devastated.


Devastated, yes.

But the adults dropped the ball on this one.


It was important to me that my kids knew how to float as babies. Babies are naturals in the water. It is a Great vid BTDT!

Prayers to the family. I don’t think anything else can ease the heart ache.

Spirit Filled

God Bless this family.


Sad to hear this happened and my thoughts go out to the family.

I’m posting this video I just got a couple months ago about this very type of thing. MAYBE if more people hear about this program it might help save the lives of other children. The begining is a little disturbing but hang in there. It is an interesting and happy ending. WONDERFUL program. Wish I knew about when my kids where little. Oh and no sounds till about half way through when the baby cries to get attention.