LaPlace first grader saves toddler from drowning in pool

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019

LAPLACE — Jayson Williams Jr. of LaPlace, only 7 years old, displayed quick and selfless instincts on Saturday when he jumped into action to rescue a toddler from drowning face-first in a swimming pool.

Jayson, a first grader at Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School, was enjoying some fun in the sun at his aunt’s apartment complex in Kenner as another family hosted a baby shower on the grounds.

Adult family members including Jayson’s Aunt Kenya Wilson watched anxiously as three small children ran around the perimeter of the pool, several times hovering too close to the edge.

“One looked about 8 or 7, one might have been 4, and the baby might have been about 1 or 2,” Wilson said. “The kids kept running around the pool and no one was watching them. My mom kept saying, ‘One of those kids is going to fall in.’”

In the blink of an eye, the middle child pushed the youngest into the pool. The toddler boy fell in head first, sinking underwater with only his legs sticking out above the surface.

The child’s family didn’t see him fall, and no one was moving a muscle to get him out of the pool, according to Wilson.

As Wilson and her mother screamed out, Jayson turned around and saw the younger child in the water.

Reaching underwater in a mid-depth area where he could barely touch himself, Jayson pulled the child to safety.

“He didn’t hesitate or anything,” Wilson said. “Without hesitation, with quick thinking, Jayson scooped him up with two hands. Jayson was the only one that could get to him.”

After Jayson sat the toddler on the side of the pool, Wilson tried to explain what had happened to the family, though a language barrier stood in the way.

“They were just smiling, so I don’t think they understood what had happened at that point,” Wilson said. “Even when we brought the baby back soaking wet, they didn’t question what had happened.”

Jayson’s family is proud of his quick reaction in grabbing hold of the child, especially considering he is small for his age and only a kid himself.

Wilson described Jayson as the kind of child who keeps adults on their toes.

“Jayson is very talkative and very inquisitive,” Wilson said. “He’s a very smart kid. He’s always alert. He’s a good student who always wants to learn more. Jayson is just one of a kind.”

Jayson’s father, Jayson Williams Sr., said in a Facebook comment that it wasn’t the first time his son had done something unexpected while maintaining his cool.