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Victim-blaming the heartbroken mother of the toddler who drowned in the bath is ridiculous

This heartbreaking story is hard to read because it falls into the “it could happen to you” category. I hate stories like that. I hate thinking that it could happen to me. To make myself feel better and to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling, isn’t it easier to judge the victims in a story? That’s what internet parenting communities seem to believe.

An adorable 21-month-old boy drowned at home in the bath while his mother was folding laundry in an adjoining room. The young tot was called “Dragon” as a nickname. Even sadder is the fact that his parents recounted that his favorite word was “bath.” 

How did this tragedy happen? Dragon’s mother, 36-year-old Kelly and busy mother of four, got distracted folding clothes and sheets in another room while her two youngest children were in the bath. When Dragon’s sister Amelia cried out, his mother rushed to the scene and found him face down in the tub. Paramedics were called, but the young boy did not survive.

Internet parents commenting on the article were quick to judge as a knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy. God forbid we show a mother support for an innocent mistake that any parent could make. Judgments ranged from passive aggressive to downright insensitive.

Here are some of the “highlights” condemning Kelly for the accident:

  • She was a “young mother” (though hardly young at the age of 36).
  • She will have a “lifetime of regret.” 
  • She “learned her lesson the hard way.” 
  • Now she will have “plenty more time to fold sheets” after her son’s passing.
  • Other parents “can’t imagine” doing what she did.

It would be safe to say that most parents worry and even obsess about how to keep their kids safe. I can guarantee you that this mother cares greatly about her children and is heartbroken that she made this mistake. But of course, anonymous parents on the internet are quick to condemn — perhaps because it eases their anxiety and makes them feel like they would never be in this situation themselves.

Yes, it is helpful to have guidelines and raise awareness about never leaving young children in the bath alone. But the truth is that all parents are going to make mistakes. Instead of pointing out what this mom did wrong and salting her fresh wounds, let’s show her some support. She deserves compassion and nothing else.

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