A US mum is using her family’s awful experience to highlight a false assumption about child water safety.
Maribeth Leeson is mum to five-year-old Adam and just over a week ago her little boy almost drowned. Adam was at a pool party surrounded by loving family and friends when the incident happened.
As Adam entered the pool, Maribeth “told him to stay on the shallow end. She thought he would be fine for five minutes, while she put his sister’s swimsuit on,” IndyStar reports.
While Maribeth assumed that her son was playing happily, surrounded by lots of loving adults having a fun time.
In fact he was underwater and drowning in the pool, repeatedly surfacing and trying to alert his mum’s attention.
It was to no avail and Adam was pulled from the pool completely unresponsive.
“Limp, grey, lifeless”
Maribeth told the full story on Facebook as a warning to other families.
“My son drowned 3 days ago,” she wrote. “His limp, grey, lifeless body was pulled from the pool and it was every mother’s worst nightmare. He was dead.”
“I heard screaming, and after a minute realized the screaming was coming from me. I watched in slow motion as people rushed to him, as he was laid on the concrete, as CPR was started.”
A horror-struck Maribeth snapped out of her trauma-induced hysteria and rushed to her son’s side.
“I finally was able to force myself to stop screaming, I ran over to where CPR continued on my precious baby. I have no idea how long it was. 10 seconds? 3 minutes? I don’t know.”
“I ran to him and watched and cried and talked to him as my friend tirelessly and relentlessly continued CPR. He looked awful and perfect still at the same time.”
Thankfully for this family, Adam began coughing, vomiting and then breathing as they awaited paramedics. But things were very grim.
“He looked like he was playing”
Adam was rushed to hospital and remained there for three days. The little guy is now thankfully on the mend. Maribeth urges other families to be extra vigilant around water – even if there are lots of people seemingly ‘watching’ kids.
“This happened in a pool full of people,” Maribeth stressed. “A pool full of ADULTS. I’ve read so many stories about kids slipping away from their parents and getting into a pool, to be found drowned shortly later.”
“He said he kept going to the bottom then to the top and tried to yell Mommy!’ ” she wrote. “It kills me to hear that. It kills me to know that his last thoughts were that mommy didn’t come for him.”
“I’ve never considered the possibility that my child could drown right in front of people who were watching him bob up and down from the bottom of the pool to just below the surface, but didn’t think he was struggling because he looked like he was PLAYING.”
Declaring herself fully responsible, she hopes that other parents will learn from her experience.
“I feel so responsible (I am responsible!) because I let him get in without any sort of safety device on, and he was in before I personally was ready to watch him,” Maribeth wrote on Facebook.
“I feel this happened to save others,” she continued. “In my heart of hearts, I know other parents need to read this.”
Thank you so much to Maribeth for being brave enough to share her family’s story. We’re so glad everyone is on the mend now.