How One Forgotten Item Almost Cost a Child’s Life

Content Warning: This post discusses a traumatic near-drowning incident involving a child.

This past weekend, I was vividly reminded of how quickly joy can turn into horror, and how perilously thin the line between life and death can be. As I struggle with the aftermath, grappling with guilt and shock, I feel compelled to share my experience. My hope is that by doing so, I might not only find some catharsis but also perhaps prevent this nightmare from unfolding for another family.serene yet poignant scene by the home pool during a family gathering

The Gathering

We had rented a large home for the weekend, a seemingly ideal setting for a few days of family gatherings. The place had all the amenities one could wish for, including a pool and a jacuzzi—symbols of leisure that soon turned into threats. With more adults present than children, one might assume that safety would be easily managed. Yet, as any parent knows, packing for children requires a meticulous level of attention, and, regrettably, we forgot the floaties.

A Moment’s Distraction

The incident unfolded in a mere moment of distraction. I was drying off our infant on one side of the pool fence, while my three-year-old son was in the pool under the watchful eyes of his father, grandfather, and aunt. They were all nearby, yet in that critical moment, their attention was divided.

My son, observing other children jumping into the pool from the jacuzzi step, decided to imitate them. It happened so fast. I only turned away for a short while, but it was long enough for disaster to strike.

The Cry That Stopped Time

The scream from my husband that followed was something I will never forget—it was a sound of pure terror. My son was found face down in the water, motionless. What followed were moments of sheer panic. I fumbled with the gate, struggled to open it, my hands shaking uncontrollably. Another mother took the infant from my arms so I could rush to my son.

My husband, in a desperate rescue effort, managed to retrieve our son from the water. He was pale, his lips blue, but thankfully, he began to cough up water and cry—a sound that, under these circumstances, was the most beautiful in the world. We held him close, sobbing with relief and fear, as he told us in his innocent voice that he loved us and wanted to leave.

The Aftermath

Despite our son being safe now, the trauma of those moments haunts me. He innocently described his ordeal as “sleeping” and mimicked swimming movements, unaware of how close we came to losing him. The incident has left a deep scar, one that I grapple with every time I close my eyes.

We had taken all the precautions we thought necessary, including swim lessons which I believe gave him the crucial seconds needed to survive. Yet, this was not enough to prevent the incident. It was a stark reminder that drowning is often silent and that supervision must be undivided and continuous.

Lessons and Warnings

Please, let this serve as a reminder to all: never assume someone else is watching. Be vigilant around water, especially with children. A lapse in supervision can lead to irreversible consequences. Ensure an adult is always within arms’ reach if children are near water. It’s not just about floaties or swimming skills; it’s about constant, undistracted adult supervision.

This weekend was a wake-up call. I share this story not to incite fear, but to advocate for awareness and safety, to possibly spare another family the agony of a near-tragedy. Remember, love and vigilance must go hand in hand, especially where water and children are involved. Stay safe.

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