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Water Safety Awareness & Guilt

I’ll never forget the day my son almost drowned. It was exactly 1 year ago from today. We had been at a private swimming pool, there were 4 adults there that day along with my 4 children. Somehow when there are more adults around, I feel more comfortable, but really I think everyone assumes someone else is watching.

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(This photo taken 7/7/2010 at his first swim lesson for this year, he did amazing, much better than I did actually, I was on the edge of my seat the entire lesson.)

We were getting ready to leave the pool that day and everyone was getting out. My son was playing on the steps and I was changing the baby’s clothes and not paying attention. The next thing I realized my daughter was yelling “MOM! MOM!” she was also yelling her brother’s name. When I looked up, she had her floaty in one arm and our son in the other and was swimming as fast as she could back to the edge.

Thankfully my mom was quick to yank him out but he was already blue and non-responsive. My heart dropped as I saw his little lifeless body lay there on the concrete. I froze, just couldn’t believe my eyes. Thankfully my mom was quick to turn him to his side and pat his back, he immediately started throwing up, which lasted for what seemed an eternity. He had soiled himself and had petechia all around his eyes, face and throat, but he was breathing, my sweet baby was breathing.

Unfortunately the teenage lifeguards on duty were of no help what-so-ever and advised us to take him home to rest. On the way home, he started crying his stomach hurt so we decided to go to the ER. Praise God for that decision because when we got there his lungs had water in them, they scolded me for not calling 911 and rushed him into for oxygen. If we’d have gone home that day he would have surely died in his sleep.

Later after talking with our son, he said he had slipped off the bottom step and couldn’t reach, in an attempt to get back to the steps he had actually floated out towards the middle of the pool. He said he put his hands up in the air hoping someone would see him, and praise God, our daughter did. She said she saw his hair floating, but he wasn’t moving, so she grabbed him. Our 6 year old daughter saved our son’s life.

So why am I writing this horrific post? Two reasons:

FIRST: Be AWARE! Drowning doesn’t always look like drowning!

No matter what the amount of water your children are playing in, keep a close eye on them. I now stay in the water at all times with them. We stay together and get out together. And I don’t rely on lifeguards to watch my children, the lifeguard that day didn’t even notice my son drowning, and my mom had revived him before the lifeguard even got over to us, even though we were yelling at him like crazy. Finally, be informed! The lifeguard that day told us to go home. If this happens to your child NEVER go home! According to our pediatrician if there is ever a restriction of the airway of any kind i.e., choking, drowning ALWAYS GO TO THE ER IMMEDIATELY. And if it is a near drowning like my son’s it is best to call 911 rather than drive them yourself.

SECOND: The second reason for this post is to admit my own feelings of guilt. I’ve never fully forgiven myself for this incident. I can go on and on about what I could have done, but that’s not really relying on God, that’s me trying to carry my own burden. I’m still not sure how to let go of this except through continued prayer, so that’s where you’ll find me today, giving prayer and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for looking after his children.

Timely as God is, I received this devotion from Alpha Omega Homeschooling:

I’ll never forget the day my son almost drowned….read more.

If you’ve had a tragedy in your home and struggle with forgiving yourself, God knows your pain. Being a homeschooling parent doesn’t mean you can protect your child from every physical bump and bruise. Accidents happen, and many times there aren’t any good reasons or answers to explain them. Only God knows what each day will bring, but praise the Lord that even when bad things happen, He is still able to turn them around for good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Lord, I can’t see the good in this situation right now, and I feel like it’s all my fault. Please, help me to forgive myself and trust that somehow, You will make sense of this problem. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ALWAYS keep an eye on your children when they are swimming, drowning can happen in an instant.

Now, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, take your kids to the pool and have a safe and fun summer.

48 Comments

  • Rebecca August 11, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Thank you for this reminder. We are going to a big back to school pool party with our co-op today….probably over 100 families. I will need to keep all of my duckies in a row! Sorry for everything you went through….and thank you for sharing such a scary moment.

    Reply
  • Faith August 11, 2010 at 4:32 am

    Thank you so much for your touching story. It was difficult for me to read, as this happened to one of our children as well several years ago. My husband and I were right there and it still happened!Thank the Lord our little one was ok too. You can never be too careful around water and you really can't trust the lifeguards!

    Reply
  • rainbowmummy August 11, 2010 at 4:35 am

    You know I am not a Christian, but here is my perspective. You done a wonderful and brave thing sharing this story to give us a *real* reminder of the dangers of water and you should be apluaded for doing so.What a terrible thing to happen, and something I am sorry your family had to go through.

    Reply
  • Annette W. August 11, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Thank you for sharing so deeply from your heart. The devotion was indeed timely. May I suggest that you contact the pool and inform them of what would have happened had you actually gone home instead of to the ER? It may prevent another family from tragedy.

    Reply
  • Bridget August 11, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. My littlest one slipped under on the steps this summer while I was RIGHT BESIDE HIM!! But I had my back turned to catch the 3yo swimming to me and I never heard him slip under. Scary is an understatement.I'm glad all ended well.

    Reply
  • Sam August 11, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Thanks for sharing! I can't believe they told you to go home!

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  • Jenn August 11, 2010 at 5:38 am

    THANK YOU so much for sharing this. How scary! I appreciate your honesty about the guilt you are still dealing with. Prayer is definitely the answer when we are faced with recurring guilt.

    Reply
  • Kathy August 11, 2010 at 5:41 am

    So scary! I posted this article on my blog last month – I highly recommend you read it and share it – it's vital info about how most ppl don't recognize drowning. Praise God that your son is OK!http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/

    Reply
  • Kristen Bieber August 11, 2010 at 6:48 am

    This post gives me chills, but it such a good reminder to keep an extra close watch! Thanks

    Reply
  • Wendi August 11, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Thank you for sharing your story…I'm so thankful that all was well in the end.I signed up for the devotion from Alpha Omega when you mentioned it on your blog many months ago…I love it! Their daily devotional emails have been such a blessing to me!

    Reply
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