People always say that life can change in a second and after this weekend, Lord help me, I KNOW that’s true.

Earlier this summer I read a link to an article on Facebook about signs of drowning. I have 2 small children, 3 small nephews, countless friends with toddlers that we spend time with and 3 pools and a lake. We spend a LOT of time in the water.

The article, found here, was really enlightening:

Did you know that:

“Drowning in real life is so undramatic that 10% of accidental drownings happen within 25 yards or less of people who could have helped.”


Saturday was a very traumatic day in the neighborhood. My Dad and I were turning down our road, following an ambulance. My Dad immediately knew something was wrong. That ambulance turned down my brothers driveway. My brother and sister-in-law (SIL) have 3 young boys and a pool. The 3 boys, my brother and his father-in-law had been playing in the back yard and around the pool. My brother had yelled and moved the middle boy (we’ll call him D2) away from the pool several times. He is almost 2 years old, LOVES the water and has no fear. (My SIL and her mother were in town at the time). My brother turned away for that 1 SECOND….and D2 was in the pool.   The adults were RIGHT THERE, not 5 feet away.  There was no big splash, no signs of a struggle, NOTHING NO WARNING SIGNS!!!

HORROR ensued.

When they pulled him out he wasn’t breathing and my brother and his FIL immediately started CPR and called 911. By the time the first responders arrived, D2 was whimpering, but not breathing or crying. The first responders continued CPR, got the rest of the water out and D2 was screaming like a banshee. (That’s when I arrived) The miracle of that sound will never be forgotten. The first responders were carrying D2 out to the ambulance as I rounded up the other 2 boys. A friend arrived and I shoved the children at her and told her to take them to my house (just down the road). You KNOW you have amazing friends when amidst craziness, an ambulance and only 2 of the 3 children in tow, your friend asks no questions and just does what needs to be done.

D2 is MAD!!! He is crying and struggling to get out of the restraints of the paramedics — this was like MUSIC to my ears. The paramedics let us know that an Air Evac Helicopter was en route, since he was so young and had been underwater they were med-flighting him to ACH as a precaution. All signs were good that he was going to be fine.  About this time SIL arrived in hysterics…..IMAGINE THAT!!!!!  My brother was losing it about now and trying to get her in the car to head to the hospital since no one can go in the helicopter with him (it’s about a 30 minute drive but only a 6 minute flight.  I seriously doubt it took 30 minutes).  While in route they called another friend to help with the kids and again our amazing friends…NO QUESTIONS ASKED!!!  All that was said was “Get to Kiki’s now” over and over.  It was probably another 30 minutes before they got answers to their questions.

I stayed with D2 until the helicopter landed in the field ( a sight I hope I NEVER have to see again!), he was loaded up and lifted off.  I got to hold his hand on the way to the chopper and he was angry and crying (MORE MUSIC to my ears).  I stopped at my house got everyone up to date on the situation and headed to the hospital.  Everyone was there, brother, SIL, 2 sets of grandparents and D2.  He was there LONG before they were.  The doctors were in with him in the ER and they were giving him a CT to check brain function and his lungs.

By the MERCY and GRACE of GOD there was no damage.  My brother and his FIL did all the right things.  They reacted quickly and knew what to do.  They were HEROes.  Kids spend their lives looking up at daddy as a hero, but on this day , my brother really was one.

My nephew is fine and at home and ready to go swimming again.   The trauma has effected us more than him – -oh the joys of a child’s memory!!   There will be changes around the house, more precautions, another fence and I seriously doubt anyone will turn their back for even a SECOND going forward.  Too much can happen in that brief moment in time.

While my nephew’s accident is not considered a drowning, but a submersion,  I thought I would share our experience, our story, and the article above to remind us all of the dangers of the water and the signs of drowning — Believe it or not, the signs are not the screaming and the flailing that you expect or see on TV…..

An excerpt from the article above:

The following guide to recognizing Instinctive Drowning Response is excerpted from On Scene (Fall 2006), the journal of the U.S. Coast Guard.

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

Today we count our blessings.  We are thanking GOD today for our miracle, our heroes, and our AMAZING friends who jumped up to help without the slightest delay or question.

Please READ the article, TAKE CPR and NEVER NEVER NEVER underestimate what can happen in just 1 SECOND!!!!!