Too often we hear stories of drowning happening in our communities; recently we had the opportunity to hear from a parent about her story and her water safety message.
“Simply watch your kids. The alternative to not watching them just isn’t worth it.”
Here is her story. She wrote it in response to reading an article from the U.S. Army. You can read it here.
I witnessed something similar with my child last year: I now understand why they call it silent drowning. I had heard that term used at the swim school our kids go to and been warned about it many times.
When someone is drowning, their lungs fill up, and they can’t scream. Or flail. Or move. They just sink. Here’s my personal story:
Lexi had chased her big sister into deeper water at our club’s pool. She was swimming across the length of the pool underwater trying to catch up with Alaina. Each time she came up for air, she was coming up a little shorter and shorter each time to reach the surface. Until the third time, she simply could not reach the surface and slowly started to sink.
Fortunately, I was sitting there chatting with a friend watching Lexi and instinct told me (or the Holy Spirit, you can decide) to jump in. Which I did, as she was slowly sinking to the bottom of the pool. I scooped her up from beneath her and grabbed her around her shoulders dragging her backward to the edge of the pool. She wasn’t very happy with me. Frankly, she didn’t realize she was in trouble. She was all of 5 after all and rather feisty.
My girls have been in year-round swimming lessons since they could walk. Lexi of all kids has no fear, especially around water. And Yes, I’m more than a bit safety conscious around pools. I will give you that. For their ages, they’re good swimmers. But it was the end of the day after being there for two hours. It was hotter than blazes. Anyone can get tired. And anyone can drown.
I still have nightmares about that afternoon. We have lifeguards at the pool we swim at; it’s a private pool. You would think it’s safe right? Wrong. It’s a false sense of security. NO ONE will watch your kids like YOU will.
If you are reading this and take your children swimming to any pool: public, private or your own, please, don’t take your eyes off them. If I had gotten up to get a glass of water or gone to the restroom, I’m afraid our sweet Lexi wouldn’t be with us because the lifeguards and everyone sitting there, 12 inches from the pool, would have missed the event entirely; it can happen so quickly.
Did you get invited to a swim party? Our family policy is either me or my husband go with our kids. Period. It’s too easy for all of us to get complacent at the pool and think a lifeguard or another person is keeping an eye out.
Or maybe we don’t want to be “that parent”.
Or maybe they’re a good swimmer.
Or maybe, you think that nothing will happen.
I’m here to tell you, that it happens too easily.
So put down your phone, your book, your latest issue of Good Housekeeping (does anyone still read that anyway?) and simply watch your kids.
The alternative to not watching them just isn’t worth it.