Every year I write a blog about our terrifying experience where my 2 year daughter almost drowned. The event was so shocking because there were so many adults all around her. I am posting again because I just read an Olympic athletes sweet 19 month old recently died in a swimming accident.
This extremely painful event to talk about occurred around 8 years ago. I thank God every day that things turned out for my family, but unfortunately for countless other, this is not alway the case.
I have spoken openly every year around this time about what happened to Isabella so that people will be reminded of the dangers of small children and water.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we were at Christa and Brad’s house for a crawfish boil. Isabella was 2 1/2 and Sophia was around 3 months old. Isabella kept asking to go swimming with her cousins, but I told her no because I didn’t want to get in the pool. All day long Isabella (mature for her age) played with her cousins inside and outside in the playhouse. Sophia was inside sleeping, Dave was around the crawfish pot with the other men, and I was sitting with other adults two feet from the pool at a table. All of a sudden I saw Christa’s father-in-law Tim calmly walk towards the pool. I then looked in the pool and saw Isabella floating on her back at the top of the pool. I will never forgot the image, she looked like a sweet little angel floating in her flowered dress. Tim quickly grabbed her out of the water. She was alive, but something clearly traumatic happened. She was as white as a ghost and almost immediately started vomiting. We don’t know exactly how long she was in the water, but are guessing it was about 30 seconds (which if you think about it, is a VERY LONG TIME).
I have no idea how she ended up floating on her back because she did not know how to swim. I know that we were so lucky that she did not die.Tim later said that he was around the crawfish pot with the other guys when all of a sudden he got this overwhelming feeling that he needed to go to the pool. I am a firm believer that God sent him this message so that Isabella could be saved.
Isabella was very lethargic for the rest of the day and we kept a close eye on her because we started reading the dangers of small children taking in too much water. Thankfully the next day she was back to her normal self.
Here is what we all learned that day (and were reminded of):
- Most people think drowning looks like what is portrayed in the movies, kids who fall in the pool and are shrieking and splashing around. In fact, most cases are silent drownings, when a child falls into water and you do not hear one thing.
- It is common for children to drown even when there are a ton of adults nearby. This was the case in our situation. There were 8-10 adults sitting right next to the pool eating crawfish and not one of us heard or saw a thing.
- Drowning is not related to a socioeconomic or education level. This preventable tragedy can happen to anyone.What can you do to prevent this from happening to your friends and family?
- Share this blog so that everyone can be reminded of the importance of being diligent with kids and water.
- Do not assume your kids are one place (playing with cousins) when there is a pool. Take turns with your spouse watching the little ones who can not swim.
- If you have a pool, make sure to have safety features: fence, net, alarm, lock on the door.
- Enroll your kids in swim lessons. Finley and Charlotte (4 1/2 years old) spent 2 summers in survival swim lessons. Survival swim lessons can start at 6 months and it will provide you with a minute or two of extra time that may save their life. If you have access to this type of swim lessons, it is by far the best route to go.
I am so grateful to Tim, Isabella’s guardian angel. Today Isabella is a 9 1/2 year old going into fifth grader who is kind, smart, loving, and just a generally wonderful person.
Our question for you, who is ready to save lives by reminding people that most drownings are silent and can not be heard?
The biggest lessons we have learned is that you can’t trust that your kid is with someone else. Each parent has to take their turn. It only takes two seconds for something to go wrong and your life is ruined. If your kids do not know how to swim, make sure your child wears a puddle jumper the entire party.
***700 kids under 14 years drown in the pool every year in the pools throughout the United States.
I thank God everyday that Brad’s Dad Tim saved my daughter. We will always have a special place in our heart for his family.