A child at my son’s school tragically died this spring. He slipped while out fishing at a lake and drowned. He was only nine. I didn’t know this child personally, but I mourned his loss along with the rest of the school community. He had a big, beautiful smile, and those who knew him said he had an even bigger personality. My heart broke for his mother.
No parent, family or community should have to endure the loss of a child from drowning. Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children aged 1 to 14, according to the CDC. Three children in our country die every day as a result of drowning.
Those kinds of stats make me want to keep my kids land-locked. But, like many children, they love water and are drawn to it. Our community pool is closed this summer, so we bought a small (and some might say “tacky”) above-ground pool. My son already knew how to swim, but my daughter has gone from wearing floaties to being a little mermaid in just weeks.
How do I keep them safe in our little pool (or the lake, the ocean, any body of water)? What if I got too engrossed in another depressing news article about COVID, or just came inside for 5 minutes to do laundry, and something happened?
How does anyone keep their child safe this summer, when we’re all desperate for a little fun, and maybe a bit (or a lot) more distracted and stressed than we were in pre-COVID times?
I wrote a post a few years ago about drowning and learned some good tips then. I also recently talked to Cameron Corder, the Executive Director for the Cleveland County YMCA. The YMCA has been a critical part of North Carolina communities for decades and has taught so many of our children to swim. Here’s our conversation.