Pool Rules: Watch Your Kids or Pray

I’m spending a few days by the pool with my kids right now and, although the older two are both excellent swimmers, I am well aware of how very easy it is for even an expert swimmer to drown.  After five years of swim lessons, I feel comfortable sitting on the side of the pool keeping an eye on my kids instead of being in the water with them — but I make sure that I keep an eye on them.  The little one, at two-years-old, requires constant, hands-on, in-the-water attention.  Even with a swim ring, it would be too easy for him to flop over, end up upside-down, and not be able to right himself.  Sadly, not everyone understands that.

Blair and Chad Scott were visiting some friends with their four daughters when their youngest, Maggie, only three-years-old, decided she could swim just fine on her own and headed back to the pool after everyone else had gotten out.  While her parents were shooting the breeze, she made her way to the pool.  Her older sister spotted her floating, face down, in the water and screamed for help.  Her mother dove in and pulled her out and her father began CPR.

“I wanted the nightmare to end; I wanted God to bring my little girl back to me,” said Blair. “Then I realized I had three little girls standing there, not knowing what was going on. Hit your knees. And pray,” she ordered. “They cried, they screamed, they prayed.”  Luckily it worked.  The subsequent LifeFlight helicopter ride, the 28 hours on a ventilator in the hospital intensive care unit, the determined efforts of a medical professionals were all just unnecessary window dressing.  “We just gave it to God,” the girl’s mom explained.

Luckily, young Maggie was fine with no apparent brain damage from the lack of oxygen.  But then, as her father Chad noted, “God works miracles.”

The thing is, so does a fence around pools and so does parental vigilance.  The place we’re staying has the swimming pools in a separate, fenced area and the handles on the gates are about five feet from the ground — too high for any but my overly tall eight-year-old to reach.  We also don’t let the kids, especially the two-year-old, out of our sight even for a moment.

Sure, I love to talk as much as the next guy — more probably, as I’m known for my gift of gab — but the kids’ safety comes first always.  Because while it’s clear that prayer saved this little girl, you never know when God is going to be having a bad day and feeling a little cranky.  Best to avoid the problem in the first place.

On a more serious note, Safe Kids USA has lots of good information about drowning prevention as does the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, including barrier guidelines for home pools.  Check them out and keep your kids safe!

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