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Mother blames swimming lessons for son's drowning accident

Now that we got your attention, we want to ask the question: could the swim lessons you chose for your child put them in danger? Here is one mother's testimony....

"I did not become an swimming instructor until after my child had a non-fatal drowning accident.

I did not know the risks. I did not know how quick. Nothing in the baby books I read. Nothing at the pediatrician offices, OB/GYN offices. Nothing at the baby depot, babies r us, etc. Nothing at the Mother’s Day out, daycare.

I put him in regular swim lessons because that was what all the local parents were doing. I was overconfident in his abilities and had no idea of the danger I put him in.

My oldest child’s first swim class was a mommy & me class. Blowing bubbles, singing songs was the gist of the class. When he was 3, I enrolled him group swim lessons. He went every day for 2 weeks. The last day was a show off day of his skills. He had some kicks and seemed to hold his breath, swimming in the water.

One day, myself & my 2 boys were asked on a play date at a local club pool. The boys were 3 1/2 yrs and 1 1/2 years old. My oldest was playing on the steps, surrounded by many other toddlers close in age. There was a lifeguard and several mothers on the pool deck. I had my youngest child in one of the shaded spring seat float in the pool.

I was talking with my friend when I walked away briefly from the steps, as there was lots of splashing. When I turned around, I saw my oldest child. He was underwater, legs and arms moving but not going anywhere. I watched for what seemed like eternity, but was really 1-2 seconds, when it struck me he needed help. I grabbed him and placed him on the step. He was crying, and coughing and coughing and coughing. I thought he might vomit. He was shaken; I was shaken. We were both physically shaking.

What happened? He must of jumped or swam off the step too far. But he knew how to swim. He had lessons. I kept seeing the image of him so close to the wall and moving his arms and legs, but not getting back to safety. He needed a breath! He wasn’t swimming.... he was drowning. My child was drowning in front of a lifeguard, mothers and myself. I did not know what to do.

I no longer felt my child was safe around water. I bought him a lifejacket*. At the time, that was the only thing I could think of to help keep him safe. He would wear this every time he went in the pool.

Then someone shared the ISR "Miles" video in an email (watch below). This was before Facebook and videos in emails were still new. I thought, "look at this toddler float! He can breathe and get air." I needed this. I needed my kids to have these lessons. But there was not an ISR Instructor in Louisiana.

In 2008, I became the first ISR Instructor in my state. I knew ISR skills could save children’s lives. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love empowering infants, toddlers and young children with a respect of water and skills to save themselves should they reach the water alone."

Written by Lauren Wilt, PPCD Ambassador in Louisiana.

*ISR does not recommend use of the floatation devices for swimming.

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