...and then our hearts stopped beating. Toddler drowning happens in seconds.

5 years ago
So last week the four of us went over to my brother and sister-in-law's new house. It has a super-cool in-ground pool, a super-fun swing set (with a spiral slide!) and an awesome sandbox area -- a gorgeous setup.
 
It was dinner-time and my brother was at the grill and Craig was outside with the kiddos (Bella - 4.5, Lila 3 and Brody 2.) I was inside with Vivienne and my sister-in-law.
 

The kids weren't swimming, they were in their regular clothes playing in the sandbox having fun. Craig and my brother were watching them and Craig was looking around the new backyard and wandered over to the grill area -- just steps away from the kids -- and was remarking to my brother how much storage space the grill-area had when he and my brother heard Bella yelling, "Lila is drowning! Lila is drowning!"
 
Craig looked and Lila was under water in the deep end of the pool -- arms stretched up to the sky with a look of what Craig tells me was sheer terror on her face. 

She was treading water, but she was still about 2 inches below the surface. 

Of course, Craig jumped into the water in his clothes and pulled our baby out of the water; compressed her chest as he held her and she coughed up water.

 
I heard her crying and ran outside and saw my husband and daughter together, soaking wet. Her screaming and him holding her as closely as he possibly could. The look on his face terrified me and the look on her face was even worse.
 
She's ok, but friends - it could have been much worse. I cry as I type this, because friends, dear friends, it could have been so much worse.
 
If Bella hadn't yelled it could have taken additional seconds, God forbid minutes, for Craig to see Lila in the pool. And friends, it.was.just.seconds.
 
Just seconds.
 
SECONDS.

S  E  C  O  N  D  S.

 
Craig is absolutely and positively hyper about keeping his eyes on our girls when they're around/in water; more so than I, if I were being honest. And in this instance, he literally looked away for no longer than 20 or so seconds. He was within 8 feet of the kids and didn't hear a 3-year-old, 28-lb little girl slip into the water.

This was not Craig's fault. Nor was it my brother's fault. My brother happens to be an amazing Dad and an incredible uncle.

It was an accident and it literally happened in seconds.

 
All this to say: hug the children in your life and watch them, watch them, WATCH THEM VIGILANTLY around water.

Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects).

After we got into the car to leave my brother's house that night, Craig, who incidentally never says my name, looked straight ahead as I was driving and said, "Kylee. I have never, ever been so scared in my life. Ever. The look on Lila's face..."

 
I went home and I cried because I was so very thankful that God answered our daily prayer of placing a protective bubble around our children. And  then I cried because in seconds, in just SECONDS our whole entire lives could have changed. And then I cried the next day when I thought about it. And today, a week later - I still cry because I'm a Mom.

Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates, my friends.

There's more horribly frightening but necessary information about water safety here.

And yes, we're researching swim lessons for Lila now; the need for swim education was just propelled to the top of the "MUST" list. It should be at the top of yours, too.

--

How is Lila today? Totally fine. In fact, she was fine 10 minutes later. She knows she fell in the pool and that "Daddy jumped in and saved me!" She doesn't appear to be adversely affected; it was me who kept crying that night and the next day. :)

She also is totally excited about swim lessons so that "when I fall in the pool again I can save me."

Friends: Be vigilant around water.

SECONDS.  Just seconds.

Photobucket
--

This is an article written by a member of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.
comments

More from parenting

Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 42 minutes ago
Parenting
by Monica Beyer | 3 hours ago
Parenting
by Maryal Miller | 5 hours ago
Parenting
by YourTango | a day ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | a day ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | a day ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 2 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 2 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 2 days ago
Parenting
by Lindsay Tigar | 2 days ago
Parenting
by Lindsay Tigar | 5 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 5 days ago