This post, Why Swim Lessons at Goldfish Swim School Helped Save My Daughter’s Life, is in partnership with Goldfish Swim School. All opinions are my own.
This year, I’ve made learning to swim a priority for both kids. You’ve probably saw some of the photos on social media over the last few months as their lessons have commenced. Both of my kids love the water. Especially E. So I wanted to be proactive about water safety. We have an above ground pull in the back yard and from the moment she got in at 6 months old, she was hooked. I’ve never seen her as happy as she is when she’s in the water. Lately I’ve joked with my husband that my dreams of dance lessons for her may be crushed by days on a swim team instead. She just loves the water that much. Now that she’s getting older, I thought it was the perfect time to get her swim lessons and for the last few months, she’s been going to Goldfish Swim School. Little did I know that those swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School may have just saved her life.
I take water safety seriously and I’m the crazy mom at the beach or pools yelling at my kids to get back when they’re going out too far. I keep our pool ladder out of the pool at all times and wedge between our shed and fence so the kids can’t get any ideas. Heck, I don’t even let my little one go out in the yard without me.
Some kids, especially toddlers like my daughter have no fear. She doesn’t understand that a giant wave can knock her over, well she does know that much and she loves it. But she doesn’t understand the dangerous consequences of that. She loves to be thrown around by the waves as evident on our trip to North Carolina in May.
I never expected the most dangerous threat to be right in my backyard.
But she listened when I explained that the waves were getting to rough and we had to get out. Just like she does at home with our pool.
We go over water safety rules. No going in the pool without me or her dad with her. No going in the pool without her life vest. No pretending to go in the pool or near the pool without one of us.
She’s been good with the rules. She repeats the rules to us. She asks for her life jacket every. single. time. we go outside to go in the pool.
While I’ve never said it out loud, I trusted that she knew the rules even at her young age. She’s showed me that she knew the rules. She’s NEVER tried to get in the pool without her dad or I out with her.
But that’s the thing about getting comfortable, you can never say never.
Last weekend in between fireworks and local events my parents and my aunt came over for a little cookout. It was just us, a casual night but it was one of the hottest days of the year. So their grandpop (poppy) and the kids played in the pool until dinner was ready.
When it was time to eat everyone got out without complaint (that was a first and should have been a tip off of what was to come). It was late in the day and we told the kids no more pool for the night. They were ok with it.
My oldest got back in to pick up all the dive toys and leaves before we took the ladder out for the night. Evie and I went inside with the guys while they watched some baseball. My mom was cleaning up the deck. I walked out on the deck to help with her with the dishes. While I walked in the open french doors, E walked out to talk to my mom.
I heard them talking about her dress and it was time to get changed She never looked up from gathering the things off the table she was just talking.
She didn’t see E walk right off the deck and over to the pool ladder. In fact, she didn’t say a word. She climbed the ladder and jumped in. Just like she does every other time.
Only this time was different. She didn’t have her life vest on.
And she sunk, she couldn’t get back up. Her guardian angel was watching her this day. If it wasn’t for her brother being in the pool and under the water with his googles grabbing the toys, this may have ended very differently. As he was scooping the toys, he saw her under the water. He saw she didn’t have her vest on and swam over, grabbed her and brought her up.
The next thing I knew, I hear him say to his grandma call mom and tell her to get out here. As I walk to the door, I hear my my gasp and scream “how did she get in the pool? She was right here with me. Oh my god”.
Now mind you, this all happened in under a minute, maybe two. She was right there talking with my mom, her mom-mom and in the blink of an eye she was in the pool.
The scariest part of all this? No one heard her jump in. No splash. No noise.
The french doors to my deck are right in the kitchen next to where I put the dishes in the sink. When those doors are open you hear everything. If I’m inside when my husband is outside, I hear every splash, every noise, heck I even hear the pool filter on the other side. This time we heard nothing.
If her brother was not in the pool, how long would she have been in the water before we knew? Would she put her swim skills she’s learned at class to use? Would she have drowned? There are so many “what ifs” and “would she have done this or that”
One thing I do believe is, she didn’t panic. While we know she wasn’t in long, she was in long enough to know this could have ended badly. She held her breath, just like they taught her in class. She didn’t take in water struggling to get above water.
After the initial shock of what happened wore off and with all of us at the pool with her, we watched her. She wasn’t fazed by what happened. Maybe a little shock but she didn’t want to get out of the water. She wanted her vest and to stay in. Before we took her out, I wanted to see what would happen if she tried to swim in the water without her vest.
With all of us right there, we asked her to swim. She let go of the ladder and tried. She struggled to stay above the water BUT
- She held her breath just like they taught her at swim lessons
- She tried her swim moves she learned at class to try and stay above water
- but most of all SHE DIDN’T PANIC
I BELIEVE ALL THOSE THINGS WERE BECAUSE OF HER LESSONS AT GOLDFISH SWIM SCHOOL.
These swim lessons have been priceless. While she’s always loved the water, she learning to be comfortable in the water and not panic.
I debated sharing this story. In fact, it’s the first I’ve told anyone about this for fear of mom judgment. People and their comments or attitudes of “that would never happen to me or that’s why you need to watch your kids”
The thing is, we were watching her and it still happened.
Today 2 different moms, moms I don’t know, shared pictures of their beautiful little girls. Girls who weren’t much older than Evie that drowned in their backyard swimming pool. Two moms whose posts made me cry and whose lives are forever changed. Whose pain I felt through my computer screen, even though I’ve never met them in my life.
Seeing that made me want to share that THIS COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE. If it happened to me and my helicopter parenting, it could happen to anyone.
It made me realize that swim lessons are one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. They may have just helped save my daughter’s life.
To learn more about Goldfish Swim School or to find a location near you, click here.