As I ran towards the pool all I could see was my baby, head down, arms thrashing about trying to save his own life.
I had taken my eyes off him for not more than 10 seconds to check on the whereabouts of his siblings.
But it was long enough for him to fall in to the pool and almost drown 🙁
Thankfully a woman in the pool yelled at me “is that your boy?”
I’m not quite sure why she didn’t just swim to rescue him instead of seeing who he belonged to, but she didn’t.
I leaped in to the pool fully clothed and plucked his tiny, fragile two-year-old body out of the water.
He was coughing, choking, crying, and confused.
But thankfully he was conscious.
I held him so tight in my arms and whispered gently in his ear: “mummy is here, I love you” and he said: “pool, head, water”.
My heart sank and fractured a wee bit because I knew that I had almost let my son drown.
That night when I put him to bed I had a niggling feeling that something wasn’t right.
A few minutes after I left his bedroom, I came back and gingerly lifted him from his pillow and put him on mine, so I could keep a watchful eye on him.
Just a few hours later he started to get hot, really hot, and his breathing became laboured and alarms bells were ringing.
I couldn’t get that horrible, heavy pang of worry out of my heart, so I called 13 Health and after a few questions they suggested we see a doctor ASAP.
He told me what I was already thinking, that my baby might have a ‘dry-drowning incident’ depending on how much water he had choked back.
The scary thing was, because I didn’t see him fall in the pool, I didn’t know how long he was under the water for.
Within 30 minutes of arriving at the newly opened Gold Coast University Hospital, my baby had an x-ray and they found fluid in his lungs.
All night I felt like the world’s worst mum, because I had to keep retelling the story of what happened and admit that I did not see my son fall in to the pool 🙁
BUT – I’m so grateful that I listened to my heart that night and drove us to the hospital.
We stayed overnight and were heavily monitored.
I didn’t sleep a wink, but that’s probably because I was listening to my son’s every breath to make sure it wasn’t his last.
Aside from some major coughing, high temps and irritability throughout the night – we were given the all clear to go home the next morning and were warned to be wary.
I am so grateful that this was as bad as it got for us, so many parents have lost a child as a result of a drowning event.
According to the Royal Life Saving Australia:
1. In past 10 years 330 kids under the age of five have drowned in Australia.
2. Almost 165 of these have died in a home swimming pool.
3. Sadly, 78 per cent of home pool drowning deaths are children aged two or younger.
4. Kids can drown in seconds and often the drowning may be silent with no or little splashing.
5. For every drowning death there are about three hospitalisations, with up to two of the hospitalised children suffering a permanent brain injury.
So I ask myself, what if that woman had not been in the pool and seen my son struggling for life?
How long would it have taken me to figure out that one of my three angels were missing?
I know I can’t live in ‘what if’ land – but I sure as hell can live in ‘never again’ land.
It takes just a few seconds for a child to get in to trouble in the water, whether it’s the pool, bathtub, bucket or a blow-up paddling pool.
You won’t hear them scream, beg for help or cry, they will most likely die silently and sadly.
Please remember that it only takes a little distraction or a few seconds of inattention for a tragedy to happen.
In a strange way I am glad this happened to me, because I will never take my eyes off my children in, near or around water EVER AGAIN!
Have you had any near misses in or around water?
Would you have swam to save my son before yelling out to me?
Do you think we are too trusting of our kids sometimes?