Over the years we have read many stories of real-life children drowning and articles on child drowning prevention circulating on social media. Not only do they remind us to keep an eye on our children, but also the importance of safety measures when you have a pool or pond at home. However, out of all of these, the most important reminder to us all is knowing how to do CPR.
Don't only think, "Oh, why bother with it?" since it's never going to happen to us. Well, that's just the problem, says one father. It CAN happen to anyone.
Father Writes How It's Like to Nearly Lose a Child:
"Today started off great. I had spent the last few days celebrating a friends bachelor party in New Orleans. This weekend was on the calendar for weeks and I had been looking forward to enjoying myself with the guys drinking it up and just getting away. In fact, I may have enjoyed myself too much. I made it home with all the energy I could muster and ended up slumping onto the couch."
"My son, however, was full of energy like always! He must have pulled twenty toys out of his box and asked me to play with him. Every one of his attempts was denied. Sure I made half-ass attempts, but my attention was on the TV. Finally he lost interest and wandered off."
"My wife was in and out of the house, on the phone, next door dealing with this and that. Luckily she walked through the front door, instead of going to the bedroom(which was her original plan). She then walked into the kitchen to wash her hands and that was when I heard the scream that changed the rest of my life."
"Michael, Matthew is floating in the pool!!"
"My wife ran out the door and dived in a flash, no thought at all as to being fully dressed or anything else. That was when I got to see my beautiful baby boy, blue and lifeless."
"My heart was pounding at this point. All I could think to do was blow air into his mouth, flip him over and squeeze his little body. I do not know baby CPR. Every time I squeezed, it was like squeezing a sponge full of water."
"At this point, I didn’t even want to look at my baby because he remained blue and lifeless."Advertisement
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"I told my wife to call 911 and she did. Oh my god he is dead, I think at this point.
"So, out of nowhere my body picked up my limp child and I ran barefoot as fast as I could to the car, my wife in tow, still not knowing where we were heading."
"At this point, it was like my body was on auto-pilot, swerving in and out of cars. In my mind I was asking God for forgiveness for my ignorance. I was pleading with him to give me another shot at playing with my son."
"I was assuming my wife would want a divorce, and I was planning on killing myself because I wasn’t going to be able to live with the guilt the rest of my life. The last thing my son saw was his father lying on a couch and telling him to go play because I was hungover..... I mean could you? Could you stand the thought of your babies begging for your attention and all you did was send them to their death?"
He Was Not Breathing
"We know that at 4 pm my son triggered the ADT alarm in the backyard. We know that at 4:04 pm my wife called 911. We also know that we drove 4 minutes to the nearest minor emergency clinic. I had to yell over my wife, who was screaming 'I hate you' at the top of her lungs. I kept reminding her to keep giving him CPR and she would stop to say that her baby was dead.Advertisement
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"Now, my son was potentially underwater for anywhere from 1-4 minutes. Then it was another 4 minutes without breathing on the way to the emergency room. But before we pulled into the emergency room, I told my wife to try CPR one more time and this time my son finally opened his beautiful eyes.
"The nurse helped my son and wife into the room and that is when the ladies there took over."
"I remember telling my wife once that there was a point where I never wanted to hear my son scream anymore. But that scream my son let out after a couple of minutes in the emergency room, was the sweetest sound I have ever heard in my life."
Torturous Wait at Home
"The ambulance came to the minor emergency room to pick my son up. Only one parent could ride and I had to go back to our house to allow detectives to take pictures of what could potentially be a crime scene. My brother had to drive at this point because all I could do was cry. And when I say cry, I mean borderline wailing."
"When I stepped into our house, I still didn’t know if my son was going to make it or not. I was just seeing his things every where in the house. His favorite little truck, HIS things, things that he may never get to touch again."
"Having no news was hell, as I wait for what seems like an eternity for a cop to show up."
"I began wandering around aimlessly. Looking at wet floors from where my wife and I came running through on our way to the car. There were other things, like my son’s sippie cup still filled with the apple juice he was drinking.
"I had plans before the accident. Plans to go fishing this week and maybe play some poker. I had work on my mind too, but none of that mattered anymore. The ONLY thing I cared about now was getting to my baby, and finding out whether or not he would make it."
At Memorial Herman Hospital
"When I finally arrived at the hospital, it was still uncertain if I was going to walk up to my family and find out that my son had passed while I was gone. My thoughts were very clear at this point. If my son made it, I was going to make some serious changes.
"I would do things that revolve around my children more. I would quit being so worried about work all the time. I am NEVER going to take my son for granted again."
"As I type this Facebook post at 2:24 am from the parents room, I am happy to say that my son is alive and actually doing well."
"I have spent my life hearing about tragedies or reading about them on Facebook and always assuming that this would never happen to me. But TODAY opened my eyes. Children are little for only a very short time. I need to spend as much time with mine as possible and you should too."
Child Drowning Prevention
Here are some child drowning prevention tips parents should know:
Have a compliant pool barrier that is used correctly and maintained regularly.
Supervision of children within arm’s reach by a responsible adult in and around water is essential.
Teach children water familiarisation and swimming skills.
The best child drowning prevention skill to have is CPR. Remember that any attempt is better than none at all.
Michael and Ashley were told by the doctors that Matthew's incident was not the only one that night. There were three other families there as well that experienced the same situation and it happens every day, so much so that they can’t even keep count. If parents were more aware of child drowning prevention methods, this would greatly reduce the risk of it happening.
And that is exactly what Michael hopes to do by sharing his story to advocate the importance of child drowning prevention. In closing, he leaves parents with this reminder:
"Pools are very dangerous. Share my story, I want as many people to know that anything could happen in a split second if you’re not careful."