Survival Story Sunday: Liam
This story was shared with us by Laura Smith. Momma to two boys: Liam (2) and Carter (1).
April 16, 2017
We had an Easter miracle... Liam fell in the pool.. Me and my husband were in the pool with both boys, Carter was sitting on the side kicking in the water and Liam was walking around the edge of the pool pulling his toy boat around in the water. My husband was in the pool watching Liam and I was in the pool with my back to them playing with Carter. My husband got out of the pool to put the water hose in the pool (water level was a little low). In the 30 seconds it took for my husband to put the hose in the water and turn his back to turn the water on, Liam reached for his toy boat and slipped into the water (no splash at all). When my husband turned around he screamed for me to grab Liam, who was in the deep end of the pool floating on his back. When I got to Liam he was not choking or sputtering at all, just taking normal breaths and making a little whimpering sound. I picked him up and he started to cry a little, then looked at me and said "mommy I fell in the pool"...I wanted to cry and freak out, but I held it together and in a calm voice (which I did not expect to come out when I opened my mouth) I said "yes, but you flipped on your back and floated just like you're supposed to and I'm so proud of you". He looked up at me and said "yeah mommy, I floated". He calmed down pretty quickly and was back to playing in the pool 10 mins later. If he had not been to ISR last summer and fall, we would have been doing CPR on my 2 year old and heading to the hospital. It's been 8 months since Liam finished his first round of ISR and he reacted exactly as [his instructor] taught him!!"
This story had a happy ending, and we also think it is the perfect opportunity to highlight a few points.
Drowning is silent. There is not a lot of commotion or splashing. A child can simply slip underwater, unseen and unheard.
Layers of protection are key:
#1 Constant supervision: This is usually the first layer to fail, because we are human.
In this situation the other layers didn't really apply because the family was enjoying the pool together: water watcher badges (wasn't a group of people, who would have thought to wear one?), fence with self latching and self closing gates, alarms, CPR (thankfully this one did not apply!), and removal of dog doors. In Liam's case the next layer of protection was the the ability to rollback and float independently. And he had practiced this skill before in a similar situation so he knew how to respond.