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your child was not designed to drown, they were meant to floaT!

© 2018 by Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning - design assisted by Think Designs

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Sunday's Survival Story: Havi


This Sunday we are highlighting the ability to rollback and float. The difference between life and death may only be a few inches, the distance between the back of your head and your nose. If you know how to roll onto your back and maintain a float posture you may just have a shot at surviving.


This story is about Havi, a 5 ½ year old girl who lives along the river (mild current) in a house with a pool. When her parents met her in China at 1 ½ years old, they knew this little one had a love of water. They also have two older children who had completed self-rescue swim lessons and knew that Havi would benefit from these lessons also. They waited until she was 2 ½ years old to enroll her in lessons to ensure they didn’t disturb the attachment process of her adoption. This story takes place three years after her self-rescue lessons ended, and is told by Havi’s mother, Eva.


“It was just a typical spring weekday afternoon. I homeschool my children, and as we live on the river, they liked to check the crab trap during our lunch

break. That day was no different. The kids got to the trap before me and shouted with glee that they, in fact, had caught a handful of crabs. They immediately jumped into crab prep mode, heading back to the house to collect what they needed to remove the crabs from the trap and keep them for dinner while I remained on the dock. I quickly texted my sister about our success as I watched my oldest, who was twelve years old, and youngest, who was five, running back to the dock with supplies. As I turned my back away from the house to put my phone down, I heard a splash. That’s when I heard my middle child, on land, exclaim that Havi, my youngest, had fallen into the river. I turned around and only saw one child on the dock. I then looked down into the river, and that’s when I saw Havi. I yelled, “Havi, float!” which she did immediately. As the water level was low, I knew I couldn’t reach down to pull her out where she had fallen in, completely clothed in spring time attire. I also recalled that we hadn’t installed a ladder yet. So, I couldn’t direct her to swim to one. Being halfway down the length of the dock, I Instead I told her to simply float and make her way to the furthest end of the dock, where we have step off. I figured it would be easier for her to reach me there than to swim back toward the sea wall and have me navigate the rock revetment to get to her. Once she managed to make her way to the end of the dock (by simply staying in her float and kicking a little), I explained to her what I would do. I would count to three, and that’s when I wanted her to flip and reach up for me. She did exactly that, and I was able to safely pull her up. She never once panicked or cried. I told her how proud I was of her for staying calm and following my directions. I would help her to shower and get cleaned up. My bigger concern was having to explain to her father that, not only had she fallen into the river during lunch, but I never got wet trying to help her out! Now, I sure would have done that had I needed to. But thanks to Carmen (ISR Instructor) and the ISR training she provided Havi, there was no need. Havi was capable of waiting to be rescued after receiving just 4 weeks of ISR instruction THREE years prior to her accident, when she was just two and half years old. Thank you, Carmen, for equipping all of my children with the skills they need to save themselves. We are forever grateful!”


Havi’s story might have had a very different ending had she not learned how to self-rescue and had the opportunity to practice the skill fully clothed. You can see too, that Havi has a limb difference and this didn’t stop her from saving herself! We are very proud of you Havi!


From mom “I’m really proud of my little peanut, and so grateful for [the self-rescue] instruction. It just doesn’t give a mom or dad peace of mind. It saves lives.”

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