Drownings are one of the most common causes of childhood deaths. While drownings are completely preventable, many parents make the mistake of thinking that safe pools or swimming areas and monitoring their children are enough.
One family learned the hard way how easily a child can drown.
Nicole Hughes and her family were on vacation with several other families when she made the mistake of thinking her child was watching television with the others. Instead, her three-year-old son had snuck outside and fallen into a pool. Nicole found him just a few minutes later. Friends tried to resuscitate him before he was life-flighted to the hospital. Sadly, the doctors couldn’t save the toddler. Nicole and the family were understandably heartbroken.
Nicole vowed to make sure other children don’t suffer the same fate as her son.
She established Levi’s Legacy and came up with a way to help parents keep a closer eye on their children when they are around water. She said,
“I cannot get Levi back. If lying in bed and crying would bring him back, I would never leave my bed,” Hughes told A Plus. “Every single day since June 10, I have heard news of other children drowning. My already-shattered heart felt even more broken with each drowning death.”
“I knew I could not sit back all summer and not at least try to spread awareness about the real truth of drowning. I won’t have any new stories about my son. He will not have any more chapters in his life. By creating Levi’s Legacy, I have added new chapters to his story.”
Nicole created something called the Water Guardian.
It is a tag that tells everyone who is watching the child. It can be used in a pool or around any body of water. It lets everyone know who is watching that child so that nobody assumes that someone else is watching him when in reality the child is unsupervised.
“Multiple barriers are important when it comes to preventing drowning. Fences, alarms, doors, and swimming lessons are all important. But, constant supervision is the most important method to prevent drowning.”
Nicole is proud of her design.
She is confident that it will not only save lives but also help parents relax a little more when around the water with their children. She added,
“The Water Guardian tag provides a tangible reminder of who is in charge of supervising. Instead of just casually asking someone ‘hey, can you watch the kids for a minute,’ the Water Guardian tag provides designated, purposeful supervision. It is also a reminder to watch children when they have access to water, even when they are NOT swimming. Sixty-nine percent of children who drown do so during non-designated swim time, like when parents are cleaning up from after dinner, or when they are unloading the car at a beach house.”
Although she believes her invention will help save many lives, she wants parents to know that they still need to monitor their children carefully and never assume they are safe around water.
“The research consistently proves there is no alternative to supervision when it comes to water safety. Levi got out of a heavy door, and the pool had a fence. And, both of his parents — and several other adults — were in the room when he slipped away for a moment.”
Many experts endorse The Water Guardian. BJ Fisher, director of health and safety for American Lifeguard Association, Inc. said,
“Knowing Levi’s story, my heart feels so harmed. We feel this is a truly worthy cause, and it’s a movement that really will save a lot of lives.”
Nicole wants people to know that she wasn’t a careless or neglectful parent and never thought this would happen to her.
She was always careful around water and taught her children about the dangers of going in and around water without an adult. Still, it only took a few seconds for her life to change forever. She said
“I took water safety seriously. My children were always in life jackets; they took swim lessons. I always watched them carefully when swimming. I wish I had known that a child can drown in 30 seconds, that it is silent, and that there is not often a struggle.”
She encourages parents to learn about the risk of drowning and ways to prevent it.
Nobody wants to think about their child drowning, but it is something that people need to think and talk about more often. She said,
“Drowning needs to be part of our national culture. We need to shift our mindset in how we look at the water. Yes, water is fun, but water is also deadly. Teach your children to respect water. Remember that a child can drown in a tiny amount of water — a bucket, a ditch filled with rainwater, a pool, a pond, an ocean. Please be aware of the silent, ruthless killer that is drowning.”
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Source: A Plus