Horrible paddling pool experience(13 Posts)
I just need to share this - partly because I can't stop thinking about it, partly as a reminder / warning to all other parents - esp as the weather gets better.
I took my dd (who will be 3 in Aug) to the lido this afternoon, was hot and sunny, they have a paddling pool which is absolutely great for the little ones - at the shallow end the water is as deep as my ankle, at the deepest it comes up to my knee.
I got chatting to another mum, her little girl and mine were splashing around together. I stupidly took my eye off her for what must have been around 40 seconds, looked back and she was sitting in the deeper end - head completely immersed under the water and just moving her head from side to side under water clearly unable to stand up.
I think time stood still at that point. She was maybe 3 meters away from me but it felt like hundreds of meters - I yanked her out of the water, her eyes closed and spluttering and coughing - took her to the side - thoughts flashing through my head about CPR and whether I would be able to remember my first aid training (by that point the 'life guard' had rushed over to see if she was okay - I was too shocked to question why she hadn't seen it happen sooner, not that I'm blaming at all - my daughter is my responsibility). Anyway, within a minute she was laughing and wanting to go in again. I don't think my heart stopped racing for the next 10 minutes.
It all hit me after I'd put her to bed tonight. I have not been able to stop crying and doing the 'what if' thing. I just feel so bloody irresponsible and guilty and like I've been slapped hard in the face. I can't get the image of her under water out of my head - and every time it makes me draw breath. I have no idea how I'm going to sleep tonight, I know as soon as I switch the light out, there she'll be in my head again, head under the water.
So this is part self-therapy and part reminder / warning. It takes seconds for tragedy's to occur. I'm just bloody lucky it was just a warning to not be so complacent. From now on it's arm-bands in any sort of water. Maybe even the bath.
at armbands in the bath.
What a terrifying experience for you. Please be kind to yourself - your DD is absolutely fine. Have you been able to talk this over with someone in RL and get a big hug?
I am so glad your DD was okay, OP. People are horribly complacent about water. This does happen to young children, they have to be watched all the time around water. Even armbands don't help in really shallow water, I think (if the child falls forward and lies down face first). For some reason, small children don't always get a reflex reaction to jerk their head out of the water when this happens - that's why they can drown in just a couple of inches.
How awful for you . The same thing happened with me and DD2 (aged 3) on holiday in December last year.
Both DH and I were less than a metre away from her, in a very empty pool. We were distracted for less than a minute, adjusting DD1s armbands, and didn't notice DD2 step off the shallow bit of the pool. I saw her about 50 cms under, and yanked her out by her hair. Like your DD she was fine and carried on playing in the water no problems. It was terrifying, and I still think about it now.
Be kind to yourself and just take it as a warning to be super-vigilant in the future - I haven't taken DDs swimming since, but will make sure I watch them like a hawk when I do.
That sounds so scary OP, hope you're feeling a bit better now.
Probably the best thing you could do though, and the same goes for vanimal is not to avoid the water, but to start taking your children to swimming lessons so they learn how to be safe in the water. The statistics for back yard pool drownings are horrible here in Oz and tend to be split between toddlers being looked after by grandparents/others who "only took their eye off them for a minute" and children in areas where they have back yard pools but come from cultures where swimming lessons are just not seen as a priority.
There is no substitute for vigilance but being able to swim really is a life skill that matters.
Sorry you feel so bad. I had something similar happen to 2.5yo DS1 once. It was just a blip, though. You Did get to her in time, no one can really keep their eyes on their kids every second. Have to accept there will be some close calls in life.
mama It's happened to me as well. Like you time stood still and I had nightmares about it later.
But as Adventures said, you did get there in time. It's impossible to watch them all the time and it's impossible to protect them from every danger all the time. You just have to manage dangers and do the best you can.
Just wanted you to know that you are not alone and I am sure you are a good mum.
I agree totally with the comments about the importance of teaching your child water safety and how to swim.
It is absolutely terrifying when this kind of thing happens and all you can do is thank your lucky stars that you were aware of the situation in time.
This is useful information for parents of older children/children who can swim:
What a horrible thing for you to experience
Try and focus on the fact that you DID see her, and you DID pluck her out of the water and she is fine, thanks to you. I know it's hard not to fill your head with what-ifs.
You did get to her in time. She is fine. It was a horrible thing and you are probably a little bit in shock. Parenting is full of these near-misses and they teach us to be even more vigilant - and to equip our kids with the skills they need. If it makes you feel any better, it wasn't until DS almost ran out in the road that I realised I had to do the "look both ways" script every time we cross a road, not just when the
loud parenting mood struck me!
I agree that some swimming lessons for DD might be a good way for you to feel more relaxed about water - it would be a terrible shame if she picked up on your fear now and freaked out! It would also help to prevent the same thing happening again.
We went on holiday to Disney last summer and DP took his 2 boys to the hotel pool. DSS2 (then 5) had been having weekly "swimming" lessons in school for 2 years and his end of year report said he was confident in water. So he can swim, right?
DSS2 walked into the pool between his dad & bro (then 12) with his head as far as 6 inches below the water before they realised. He wasn't freaked at all - just spluttered & said "I forgot my helpers (armbands)". Everyone else cacked themselves.
My DD was born 5 weeks ago. As soon as possible, everyone's going to the local pool and everyone's going to learn to swim properly.
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I know exactly where you are coming from, OP. I came ridiculously close to losing DD1 when she was 2YO.
We were staying with friends and went to a beach on the edge of a very fast flowing river estuary with them.
DD1 was paddling next to me while I chatted with the other mum. She suddenly let go of my hand and took 2 steps forward. Unknown to me the ground dropped away steeply and she was immediately out of her depth.
Thank goodness I was looking at her because in less than a second she was face down and floating out to sea. I lunged forward, grabbed her clothes and pulled her back.
One second later she would have been out of my reach and I would never have been able to fight through that current to get to her although I would have undoubtedly died trying.
13 years later I still feel sick thinking about it.
I learned some very important lessons that day about not assuming that places are safe just because other parents are allowing their children to play there. It was my responsibility to check if that water was safe and I didn't. I thank my lucky stars every time I think about it that I was given another chance.
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