As I flipped through a newspaper one morning, my eye was drawn to a picture of woman with a pretty face and sad eyes. The image pulled me into reading a tragic story. It was an all too familiar description of how an afternoon of fun ended with a death of a child. (The Gilbert Independent)
This mother was brave enough to tell her story of her 2-year-old daughter who had drowned in a backyard swimming pool on a sunny afternoon that was supposed to be devoted to celebrating with friends and family. It was a tragic accident that happened eight years ago and would change the lives of the people that knew her forever.
Here in Arizona, there are far too many stories that follow the same course of events. A family has a party. Everyone is buzzing around having fun and entertaining and it is most often assumed that with such a large number of people around, someone is watching after the children. By the time it is realized that a child is missing, a frantic relative discovers their tiny and lifeless body floating in the backyard pool.
I could not hold back tears as I read the sad words and could only imagine how horrific it would be to lose a child. My heart ached as my lip began to quiver as I tired not to cry. I looked up for a moment at my own 2-year-old son, alive and laughing as he ran through the room. I paused to say a prayer to ask that my children always remain safe.
If you have a pool, a fence is a must with children but this should not provide a false sense of safety. Children need to be watched around water, all water. Make sure they can’t get over the fence by propping up chairs or other objects. While swimming, avoid distractions like the phone, etc. Teach your kids to swim. Sign them up for lessons. Swim schools will teach even infants survival swimming.
I am haunted by an even more recent story of two young boys, ages five and six. Two young boys who were out alone for an afternoon bike ride that would end in a senseless death. On Saturday night, while I was celebrating my son’s eighth birthday at one of our family’s favorite restaurants, a father was reporting his two boys missing.