Sunday, August 6, 2006

Public Safety Announcement

This weekend, Z-man and I took our girls and met up with my sister and her 4 kids and my brother at the local pool. Between us we have 6 kids ages 6,6,5,4,2,& 1! The kiddos love the water and are just in the beginning stages of learning to swim. All but the two youngest, Cookie and my nephew baby E, took swimming lessons this summer and all lost most of their fear of the water while still not swimming well enough to not need a floatation device of some sort and a lot of supervision.

The last time we took all the kids to the pool, all the kids were content to splash around on the steps. This time it took all of the 4 adults present to keep things under control. It was a lot of fun, but I was nervous about my youngest niece, Lu, who is the weakest swimmer and my sister only had her on a swim noodle. Both my girls had on water wings and usually had a parent attached to their side too. (I’m paranoid about drowning!)

About 45 minutes into our swim, my brother and sister see a family having trouble. It seems that their son lost one of his hearing aids somewhere in the pool and they couldn’t find it. Being the helpful people that they are, they immediately started searching too. My sister handed baby E to Z-Man and I had Cookie and was watching two of my nieces, when I heard Princess calling for help.

I turned to see Princess about half the pool length away from me (she was right next to me a moment ago!) being pulled under the water by Lu! Lu had fallen off her noodle and Princess was desperately trying to keep her up, but her water wings couldn’t hold two. Everything was in slow motion as I called for Z-Man and started to desperately rush across the pool. I managed to grab both of them up in my one spare arm and as soon as Lu’s head cleared the water she pitifully called out “Help!”

She was coughing and her face and lips were blue. Princess had taken on a lot of water too and was very distraught. Thankfully both girls are fine. I still can’t believe how fast it all seemed to happen and how close we were to a major catastrophe. If Princess hadn’t been close enough for Lu to grab on to, I don’t know if we would noticed she was in trouble in time. As it was, Lu was close to drowning Princess as well as herself.

My PSA for today… Children can drown while being supervised!

This article is a great one for parents.

But recent research from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign shows that nearly 9 out of 10 children between ages 1 and 14 who drowned were under supervision when they died. The study defined supervision as being in someone's care, not necessarily in direct line of sight.

Drowning is a "silent killer," swimming and child medical experts said. It's not at all like the Hollywood dramatizations depicting floundering swimmers bobbing to the surface yelping for help for several minutes.

"Kids slip in the water like a pebble going under," said Dr. Marty Eichelberger, CEO of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. "As they try to get themselves out of the water, they sorta streamline their bodies making this linear form, and it takes them straight to the bottom. They only have a minute or two before they loose consciousness. ... It is a silent thing because they are under the water. They are trying to get themselves to the point where they can breathe, and as they breathe, they just suck in more water."

"You need to be right there so if something happens you can reach out your arm and you're no farther away than an arm's length from a child. ... You don't want to find out how quickly something can go wrong."


Margaret said...

Oh how scary! A friend of mine was just commenting on how when her two kids get with her brother's two kids it seems like there are 20 children in the room. Swimming with that many little ones had to be difficult. Thank goodness you were able to get there in time.

Noelle said...

Oh my goodness, how scary that must have been! And trying to 'run' in water is (obviously) a lot slower than on land...I bet it felt like an eternity before you got to them.
I am so glad everyone is ok!

Starfish said...

Yeesh! Glad everyone is okay. Living near the water, my family is very paranoid about water safety. Most kids have life preservers (the kind you wear on boats)when they are in pools.

Elle said...

I know what you mean about paranoia. I have the kiddie pool in my back yard and was terrified to leave my girlfriend's kids unsupervised with just 8 inches of water!

Two words... Life. Jacket.

Anne said...

I am so glad you were able to get there in time! I almost drowned when I was two -- my parents say I was terrified of water for years after that. Has your heart stopped pounding?

jeneflower said...

Drowning is so scary. In the book Freakonomics that I just read it said that more kids die because of the lack of fences/gates around swimming pools, than because kids aren't seatbelted in properly. Yet, mothers are so adamant about seatbelts/carseats and lackadasical(sp?) about swimming pools a lot of the time.