There were six adults present. We were obsessively counting kids all day. I was trying to teach him how to swim. Up until the moment he stepped off the ledge to swim to the side, he had a healthy fear of the deep end and stayed far from it. I thought we were doing everything right.
But my brave, overconfident boy decided he could swim to the side. He told me later, “I kicked, Mommy! But I couldn’t reach the floor.” And in the moments he decided to be brave, two other children started coughing and choking on lunch. We all turned at once to the babies, our attention caught. And when they were calm, I went to count for my son.
He was limp and unmoving at the bottom. A terrifying, still blue shape next to the edge. I screamed and screamed. My cousin pulled him up and handed him to my sister. I saw his eyes open and his body unmoving, and I lost control. I thought my baby was dead or dying, and I couldn’t watch it.
I thought my baby was dead or dying, and I couldn’t watch it.
Truthfully, I don’t physically remember much of what I am telling you in the sequence of events. Most of this was pieced together, after the fact. In the unfolding, I was blacking out most of the details, consumed by the image of my son in the pool.
My sister ran to my other cousin, fearful because she didn’t know CPR, didn’t know what to do at that moment. My cousin pressed on his chest, and he started breathing immediately, and then crying and asking for a towel. I didn’t see this either, because I was sobbing, curled up in a ball against the garage wall. I couldn’t watch him die.
When they put him in my arms – inhaling, exhaling, crying a little – I held him, still sobbing, now out of relief, and still a lot of fear. There were other things to consider, such as lack of oxygen, and dry drowning. He was blue around the lips and more than a little sleepy.
The rest of the details are unnecessary. His color returned, but we still called 911, and they held him overnight for observation at the children’s hospital. There were zero negative physical effects. No water in his lungs or stomach – nothing. He is not traumatized in the least by it, probably because it was a deliberate attempt at swimming. In fact, we believe he just held his breath too long trying to get to the side.
It took less than a minute of me being distracted for this to happen. Me, who thought I was doing everything right. Me, who does know CPR and always remembers to put sunscreen on my children … and would die for them.
Teach Your Infants to Swim
One with the Water provides infant and child CPR courses. Outside of California, parents, please, take a CPR course now. Right now. Every person should know CPR. No exceptions. There is no excuse for not having the tools to help save a life. And parents? Teach your babies to swim. It literally could mean the difference between life and death. I never thought it could be me who lost a child until it almost was.
One with the Water offers swimming lessons for babies and infants in Los Angeles programs are that are scheduled to meet your needs. The approach we use provides 100% success, regardless of age.
The first few swim classes are spent helping your infant or baby feel comfortable in the water, building your infant or toddlers’ awareness of the water, building confidence while learning simultaneous arm motion and how to float in the water safely.
We teach our swim lessons for babies and infants at a variety of pools throughout Los Angeles. We are also happy to offer private swim lessons in the comfort of your own home pool.
Have you already experienced what swimming can do? Partner with us today to teach economically disadvantaged children, special needs children, and Service-Disabled Veterans to become One with the Water! Be a hero today, and when you donate now, you can help reduce the risk of drowning for children by up to 88%! Be a hero and help us save the life of a child.
Want more details? Visit our foundation page to be a hero.
Molly is a member of our creative team, mom of four water-loving babies, and a fierce advocate for CPR training and really early swim instruction.