Izzy was 21 months old. It was May 16, 2004, a Sunday evening. We had been to church (morning and evening) stopped at the store for a few things, came home to read the Sunday paper and watch Extreme Home Makeover… My son Bailey who was 10 at the time was going outside (the side deck which is away from the pool) to lift weights for fun. Izzy was his constant shadow and he called to tell me Izzy was with him… to which I replied, “okay, but watch her!” I have to pause here to say that Isabelle was terrified of the pool. She even hated taking baths. I had just put her in the pool with Matt a few days before this and she screamed so I took her out immediately. I guess my point is she was afraid of the water and I felt like she would never get into it alone. I was wrong. Isabelle wondered away in a blink and got into the pool. I have replayed this a million times in my mind, the what if’s … what if I had said, “no, she needs to stay in the house.” what if I would have glanced outside and noticed she was headed in the direction of the pool… etc. What did happen was I had a weird thought, “isabelle… pool” came into my mind which was odd for the reasons I stated. Amanda was walking by and I asked her to make sure Izzy was still with Bailey (just to be sure), she came right back and said, “Bailey is still on the deck.” What about Isabelle? She went back out and before I could get there I heard screaming. Bailey pulled Izzy out of the pool and held her upside down. Matt came second and started giving her breaths. What seemed like hours was only a few seconds and the image I saw was a lifeless blue baby. It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life and I prayed for a year for God to take that image out of my mind. I still get shaky thinking about it. I called 911, and took over cpr while Matt talked to the person on the phone until the ambulance arrived. I did cpr until a emt took her from my arms. After that I laid on the ground begging God to spare my baby. They worked on her for about 20 minutes in the ambulance. I wasn’t allowed near. I sat with the kids and we prayed for her … We were finally told they were heading to the ER. When we followed, we didn’t know walking in whether or not she was alive. We went into the family room and were told they had gotten a pulse but were still working on her. Before five minutes passed there were so many people there we had filled the family room and the hall of the er. They then took her to the Children’s Hospital by medivac. We followed again and were told that Izzy would probably not survive the night. The rest of the story would take a week to write, but she is alive… it will be three years in May! She is healthy and making progress and we have learned so much about our faith and about God. We believe that she will be completely restored.
A while after her accident I joined an online support group for parent’s of near drownings. I have come to learn that this happens far too often especially to children around 2 years old. I feel compelled to plead you to treat any open water as if it were a loaded gun. It is so dangerous for toddlers because they don’t have the rational to know the danger involved and it happens so quickly. I have read parents stories of babysitters, grandparents, birthday parties, koi ponds, retention ponds, it happens everywhere in every way! You cannot be too careful.
- In 2000, there were 3,482 unintentional drownings inthe United States, an average of nine people per day.(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- It is estimated that for each drowning death, there are 1 to 4 nonfatal submersions serious enough to result in hospitalization. Children who still require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the time they arrive at the emergency department have a poor prognosis, with at least half of survivors suffering significant neurologic impairment. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 15. (U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- 19% of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with
certified lifeguards present.(Drowning Prevention Foundation)
- A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved
in the death of a child age 4 and under. (Orange County California Fire
- Children under five and adolescents between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates. (U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to
unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability. (National Safety Council)Of all preschoolers who drown, 70 percent are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and 75 percent are missing from sight for five minutes or less. (Orange County, CA, Fire Authority)
The majority of children who survive (92 percent) are discovered within two minutes following submersion,and most children who die (86 percent) are found after10 minutes. Nearly all who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) die or are left with severe braininjury. (National Safe Kids Campaign)