4-Year-Old Drowning Victim Was at Pool With Child Care Center

Public safety officials continue to investigate the death of 4-year-old Vicente Cardenas. The victim was one of 19 children on a trip to Roosevelt Pool with Glenview-based Wesley Child Care Center.

The 4-year-old boywas part of a group of children from a local child care center visiting the Park District facility.

Vicente Cardenas was one of 19 children visiting Roosevelt Pool, 2239 Fir St., from Glenview-based Wesley Child Care Center, said Ellen Fagerburg, Wesley’s executive director.

When Patch spoke with Fagerburg Saturday night, she would not discuss the circumstances surrounding Cardenas’ death.

“Everything is under review,” she told Patch.

According to Fagerburg, eight counselors were on hand to accompany the children at Roosevelt Pool, where the childcare agency has been taking campers for more than 20 years.

Lifeguards unsuccessfully administered CPR before Cardenas was transported to Glenbrook Hospital, according to Glenview Park District officials.

Park District Executive Director Chuck Balling said a full set of lifeguards were on duty Friday, but would not specify how many.

All lifeguards go through an extensive training and certification program, Balling added.

The pool was closed Saturday and will remain closed Sunday, according to information posted on the Park District website.

Stay tuned to the latest Glenview news: Like us on Facebook.

For its part, Wesley will have crisis counselors available to staff and parents on Monday, Fagerburg told Patch.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of this child,” Fagerburg said. “It is a terrible tragedy for the Cardenas family, Wesley and the village
of Glenview.”

In a letter sent to parents today, Fagerburg shared the agency’s condolences.

“Our immediate focus is on aiding the Cardenas family with this tragic loss,” Fagerburg wrote. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Vicente’s
parents, family and friends during this time. ... We extend our deepest sympathies to those within the Wesley community who have also been affected.”

Glenview community mourns

Meanwhile, Glenview community members reacted Saturday to the death.

“Our hearts and our prayers go out to the family in this terrible tragedy,” said Village President Kerry Cummings. “The Glenview community as a whole is saddened by this and will support the family and friends and those who have been touched by this.”

Readers weighed in on Pach, sharing sympathies and first-hand accounts of the tragedy.  

"I was there when this all went down," wrote Elena Maciel. "It was sickening then just watching [the lifeguards] trying CPR on the boy and it is very sad to now know that he has gone. I just remember everyone's shocked faces. it just so unbelievable. He was so young and five days away from his birthday. My heart goes out to his family."

in some cases, readers questioned how something like this could happen.

“Those camp counselors must not have been watching him otherwise how did he end up unsupervised in the deep end of the pool?!?,” said reader KellyK. “Why didn't the lifeguards notice a four-year old in the deep end? It's such a tragedy that could have been avoided if the adults in charge of his care would have been paying attention!”

Other readers, including SuburbanMary, shared an alternate perspective.

“As a former lifeguard, I can tell you that responding to such an emergency is
gut-wrenching and traumatic for all involved, but we are taught to keep a level
head and begin life-saving measures until paramedics arrive,” she wrote.
“Please do not point the finger at the lifeguards in this situation. Lifeguards
are not babysitters nor are they there to supervise anyone's children.”

The  Fire and police officials continue to investigate the incident. Stay tuned to Patch for more details as they become available.

El June 19, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I am so sorry for this boy who will not get to blow out the 5 little candles on his cake. My heart and prayers go out to Vincente and his family who are experiencing a kind of tragedy no one would ever wish upon even their worst enemy. Even as a mother who had to bury a son, to watch a child-sized coffin being lowered into the ground is beyond comprehension. I am so very very sorry for this family. May you be held in God's grace In this unjustly dark time. I am blessed to have 3 other sons, whom I have never enrolled in a day camp (for us it would be a city camp) bc I fear the conditions at these over populated pools and the ability of these over burdened guards and counselors to excellently do their job. When it comes to our kids, "adequate" is not enough. I have to ask- is it standard to take 4 year old campers to a pool? I really don't know if it is up north. So sad too that many moms and dads have to work all the time, maybe even 2 jobs, to make it- summer just an extension of the school year, another season to do the child care scramble. And even those that are fortunate enough to not have to work may decide to enroll their kids because being home all the time with young kids is hard and often isolating. We should remember that while there is enough blame to go around, our social conditions, regardless of social class (or really, operating in different ways depending) are also ripe for examining. With condolences and respect, Chgo Mom.
Another Concerned Mom June 19, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Dear Mr. Gurvits, There are no words to express my sadness to you and your family at this time of loss. However, I will pray for the Cardenas family and send my deepest sympathy to everyone involved in this tragic loss. I have read all the articles and comments- yes everyone is going to have an opinion & is entitled to it. You bring up a very good point. Why is there so liitle information about Vicente's death? Do you realize that the director (Fagerburg) of the school did not even have the respect or where-with-all to spell Vicente's name correctly? This is VERY insensitive especially if she is the spokesperson for the school. Please accept my deepest sympathy in honor of Vicente...I know he was loved & adored and he will be missed.
Dana June 19, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Please let the family grieve! I realize that someone will ultimately be held responsible...and probably financially as you cannot bring him back (which is what the family would want). It is impossible to not try find fault, I get it. However, let those who are in charge of investigating, insuring, and working in this field the time to do it. Rushing to any judgement will not help any future swimmers or this family.
AnotherGlenviewMom June 19, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Please please please do not jump on the caregivers and the lifeguards who were there that day. This is a tragedy that is beyond sad, more than any parent or caregiver should have to go through. Having had my children through both the preschool at Wesley and the school age camp, I know that I never felt unsafe with my children in their hands. These are not high school providers, many are parents themselves and have always treated my children as their own - and even now that we have moved on, keep contact to see how they are doing. This is a family, and one that is grieving as well, since I can assure you they loved that child more than anyone can imagine. None of us knows what happened, how it happened, and to speculate and blame this early in the process only produces emotions that are not necessary. This entire community is mourning - none of us can imagine how horrible this loss is to this family, and it is important to support them above all, as well as the center, and Roosevelt during this time. Let the authorities and the family address the why/how this event happened, and to address all policies necessary to make our pools safer. Let the rest of us be supportive to our community and above all to this family who has lost so much.
Joanna Schneider June 19, 2012 at 08:54 PM
A quick update: Following Vicente's tragic drowning at Glenview's Roosevelt pool Friday, Park District officials have announced that until further notice, all camps are suspended from using either Roosevelt or Flick Pools during public swim hours.
Cindy P. June 19, 2012 at 09:30 PM
My heart goes out to the Cardenas family, his teachers at Wesley and the life guards at the pool. I am a preschool owner, life long tacher and former life gaurd. It is by the grace of God that something as horirfic and tragic has not happened to those of us leaving comments on this site. How dare those of you place blame on anyone! Your assumptions and judgements are ridiculous! The only thing we should be focused on right now is this family, his little friends, the teachers who loved and cared for him and the dedicated gaurds who are ALL DEVESTATED.
Alice June 20, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Alice June 20, 2012 at 01:02 AM
My son almost drowned at this pool. It was not at all crowded at the time. We had just arrived for a birthday party and my husband and I were settling in. My son ran into the water to greet his friends who were on the other side of the pool and, as we found out later, were wearing life jackets. There was no obvious marker between shallow and deeper water, I had never been to the pool before and assumed the water was shallow where the other children were. BIG mistake!! When I looked up my son had gotten out of his depth and was sinking quietly. Neither the life gaurd (who was 10 feet away) my husband, or any of the other adults noticed. It was terrifying. I don't think it should be so easy to move to such deep water without encountering a barrier of some sort. I cant imagine what this boys family must be going through. They are in my prayers.
GV Mom June 20, 2012 at 01:35 AM
I think it is inappropriate to suggest that the teacher was talking, texting, or not doing her job it you were not there and don't have first hand knowledge/ proof. Bottom line is that we do not know who was doing what when this horrible thing happened.
GG mom of 3 June 20, 2012 at 03:28 AM
If there was one counselor to each camper would it be Ok to have camps there? The pool was not at capacity. If you think it's too crowded and unsafe, don't go. I don't understand why so many people blame camps for making it crowded. What about weekends? It's crowded then without camps. What about the parent alone there with 4 kids? Do we start monitoring that? Should we ban reading, texting, and talking with friends? All of these are distractions. It's ridiculous to think disallowing campers to use the pool is a solution. Be smart and watch your kids. I guarantee there are counselors there who are watching their campers more closely than some of the parents. This was tragic and I cried for this family I don't even know. Be careful and do what you're comfortable with and capable of doing while around water.
Another Concerned Mom June 20, 2012 at 05:06 AM
The spelling has now been corrected. Prayers to the family and friends.
Tipster June 20, 2012 at 03:59 PM
This article says there were "eight counselers" on hand to assist the children at Roosevelt pool. But, according to the website, there are only nine pre-school staff teachers working at Wesley. There are four groups at Wesley, and only the oldest group - group 4 - participates in open swim. Certainly, eight of the nine preschool employees could not have been present. It is more likely that the eight counselors on hand were there for the preschool AND school-age summer camp, which means the ratio was probably not 8 adults to 19 children, but more likely 8 adults to several dozen children - preschool, kindergarten, and school-age.
GV Mom June 20, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I believe Wesley hires additional staff for summer camps (people who are teachers elsewhere during the school year, etc). Their profiles may not be on the website.
mom2 June 20, 2012 at 05:58 PM
This is a BIG deal that boy life is gone, due to someone who was not paying attention and probably couldn't because it was so crowed.I am a mom of 2 and i can barely keep my eyes on my own kids and they are GREAT swimmers 6and 9 but when it is so crowed you can barely see where they are.i avoid every situation of going there when all different camps are there. how many camps are there at a time?What is the capacity of people the pool can have in and are the keeping track. Why do i feel not? everyone should stop and think god for bid you were the mom and it happen to you? You would t blame the counselor?Something went really wrong and for Wesley to keep a hush hush makes me wonder.When a counselor take the responsibility to do this kind of work their eyes should not leave that child site, now if a mom is stupid enough to then that's her own child she is putting in danger not someone else.
AnotherGlenviewMom June 20, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Again, why are we not allowing the people who are experts in figuring this out do exactly that. Obviously something went wrong - who is to blame is not our role. We can help with comments from personal experience to help the Park District make these pools safer, and help our camps do the same. We do not know the facts. For Tipster - Wesley has 9 preschool teachers, but many people who also help with the preschool/school age kids, and this is why there were 8 people there. It is a parents choice to let their kids go to the pool - they do swim lessons with the kids in the morning as well, and there are groups that do not go to the pool so that if you felt uncomfortable sending your child, you could choose to not. I chose to send mine since I visited the site, the pool and knew the counselors in charge, and never felt for a minute unsafe. Something went horribly wrong, let the authorities in charge figure that out, and for all the energy felt here, direct that towards helping this family however they may need help.
mom2 June 20, 2012 at 06:36 PM
and for how long until it happens again.???Hopefully the village will review this a little bit closer
Glenview Mom June 20, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Mom2 you are right! Let's keep it simple and ask ourselves one question.... If you were at the pool with your kids and one drowns [heavens forbid] who will you blame? The water? the kid running away from you? overcrowdedness? There is only one answer = yourself because you were the protector for that child. It's black and white.
Fernanda June 21, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Hello friends !!! I would like to enfatize that the family is still trying to understand what really happened with the little boy during the visit of the school at the pool that day. We know the police is doing the investigation, but if you were there and saw what happened, please contact Mr. Val Gurvits (He is Vicente's uncle and he is the family’s spokesman). Last Monday Mr. Gurvits wrote at this website asking: " I would like to hear from people who were at the pool that day. We have received surprisingly (and disappointingly) little information from the school regarding the events that lead up to Vicente’s death" He also wrote: "We have heard that the pool was overcrowded, but are still trying to piece together what happened. If you were there, please call me at 617-928-1804 or email me at vgurvits@bostonlawgroup.com " So, please, help the family, giving more information about what happened with the boy that day and how were the circumstances of the place at the time of the accident. All the information you can give can be added at the police's investigation !!! God bless the little boy and comfort the family in this hard time.
___ June 22, 2012 at 04:39 PM
They may have hired more people for summer camp, but twice as many? I would question that. Enough with the flattery and nonsense here. I'm sure Wesley has great staff and folks working there - but a child died under their care last week. Enough said. Good luck to Mr. Gurvits and the Cardenas family in what I hope is successful litigation and useful information obtained in discovery. It will never fill their void.
April Days June 22, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I agree. It seems to me that there is no clearer proof that someone failed to watch a child other than....someone failed to watch a child. There isn't any logic to the contrary. it just doesn't make sense. Some posters would try to shame those sharing your opinion (and mine) into saying otherwise, by asserting that we don't know what happened....but we do. It's not a leap to say that the child was unwatched, it's a hammer on the head. There's no master's paper or ethics report, no matter how strongly worded or emotional, that can contradict that simple fact. Vicente was unwatched, and that the role of watcher is - without argument - the most primary job a caregiver has. Indeed, there isn't even an expectation that a caregiver should dive in to help a struggling child when lifeguards are present. My words are not to condemn anyone. That is why i am weighing in. I am speaking up because clearly someone failed in their job, and it is better to own that, grieve that, and anyone bearing responsibilty will have to start the process of learning how to forgive themselves. To just skip that step by declaring that the accident was tragedy for which no one had a hand in is so hurtful, in my opinion, to the family and those responsible for it. This was a horrible tragedy, but it was an assisted tragedy.
Lisa June 23, 2012 at 02:12 AM
i hope the investigation includes lie detector tests of the daycare staff to get some answers on what the 'child protectors' were doing
Val Gurvits June 29, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I write once again on behalf of the family of Vicente Cardenas. We are thankful to all for your words of comfort and your sympathy. We continue to be frustrated by the lack of information from Wesley School and from the authorities. We are therefore asking anyone that has any videos from that day (Friday, June 15th) at Roosevelt Pool to please step forward and share it with us. We would like to obtain any possible evidence about the number of people at the pool, the possible location of Vicente's group, the caregivers, the lifeguards, etc. Thank you. I can be reached at vgurvits@bostonlawgroup.com or 617-928-1804.
A Glenview Parent July 04, 2012 at 05:16 AM
Dear Parent, How much are they paying you?
A Glenview Parent July 04, 2012 at 05:22 AM
I completely agree with April!
A Glenview Parent July 04, 2012 at 05:23 AM
I believe I was told there was only 7 present at the time. One was away.
A Glenview Parent July 04, 2012 at 05:32 AM
GV Mom, I had a child attending a Wesley after school program and pulled him after 2 continuous weeks of picking him up and seeing the staff literally sitting with their heads down and texting. Not engaged with the kids and in some cases didn't even bother to look up when a parent was present. When I brought this to the attention of the administrators, they not only downplayed it but defended their staff. 2 weeks straight. Also, if you asked my son, who was part of the older Wesley Summer Days Camp, where hisncounselors were during swimming, he'd tell you he didn't know. He was 8 and he said that they all hung around a shaded area texting. Completely plausible.
A Glenview Parent July 04, 2012 at 05:41 AM
AnotherGlenviewMom, You are incorrect. Wesley did not provide other activities on Jun 15. You could only keep your child at home.
A Glenview Parent July 04, 2012 at 06:07 AM
It is my understanding that the Cardenas family has not even been told about the little details like what Vicente did in the morning in class with his friends and/or what time he left for the pool. The little details to help a family heal. Wesley will only say they cannot talk while an investigation is ongoing. Do you mean to tell me as a Wesley parent, if my child is in your care and something happens to them I might have to wait months just to find out what he ate and was he happy doing the things unrelated to his death? Unforgivable.
dee July 08, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Wesley needs to learn a large lesson - perhaps a historical one!
A Glenview Parent July 18, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Last I heard, the current Wesley families will be asking the Wesley Board and their current administration for a meeting. Without any information, many of the families are still very wary leaving their children in the center's care. I also know that many of the families have been contacted by a few attorneys. The parents would not be able to sue Wesley directly but they can sue on behalf of their children. Especially those who were on site that day. It was explained that Wesley had a "duty to care" for these kids and though, tragically, we lost Vicente, each and every one of the other 18 children were put in harm's way and were in a dangerous situation. It was explained to me by one attorney that she speculates that the main reason for Wesley's silence, to all involved, is because if each parent knew what the Wesley staff were doing at the time of the loss, every parent would be suing the center individually for failure to provide safe environment.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »