4-year-old defeats door knob cover to get to backyard pool

    (PHOTO: CBS Austin)

    The Travis County Medical Examiner is calling Monday’s death of a four-year-old Round Rock boy an accidental drowning. Alister James Hyder was found dead in the family’s backyard pool by his mother.

    A spokesperson for The Williamson County Sheriff's Office says Hyder was taking a nap with his mom on Monday. He reportedly woke up first and was able to break through a child-proof door knob cover to get into the backyard. He drowned in an above ground swimming pool.

    The plastic door knob covers are only called a deterrent by manufacturers and some baby-proofing experts think there are safer alternatives.

    “I don't really love them. They're a common product, but I don't really love them because they're right there at kid height where they're watching you every time you go to open the door. They’re learning and figuring out, so they're pretty easily overcome,” said Jennifer Murray, owner of the Austin Babyproofing Company.

    Manufacturers print on the packaging that children will eventually be able to defeat the door knob covers. They also say to keep the covers effective as long as possible parents should avoid letting children see how they’re operated when opening a door. Which is why Murray prefers metal flip locks that are installed too high for young children to reach. But for families with pools, even these locks don't provide enough protection on their own.

    “A single door lock, whether it's this lock (plastic door knob cover) or this lock (metal flip lock), is just one piece of the puzzle. Between a child and a pool, you need as many layers as possible,” said Murray.

    Those layers of protection can include alarms that go off when a door is opened and motion detectors that float on top of the water in the pool. Murray also recommends installing fences around pools.

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