Jul 28 2008

Water Safety

Cole fell into the pool on Saturday.

On Saturday, John, Cole, and I went to my father’s house for a swim. We had a great time in the pool. Cole’s been learning to swim and hold his breath. He is very proud of himself, as he should be.

We sat around for a while after we had dried off and changed, just visiting. Cole found a pool “noodle” and, despite our warnings that he needed to come away from the edge of the pool (he’d edge away just enough to shut us up and then go back when he thought we weren’t looking), was dipping one end of the noodle into the water. It was getting dark, and I was just about to tell him that he had to come away or he’d be in time out when I heard the splash.

John was the closest, as he had been walking over to tell Cole to move away from the pool already As I was jumping up from my chair ad yelling “oh my god,” John had already knelt at the edge to try to grab Cole. By the time I finished the last word, John was already jumping in. He grabbed Cole, lifted him up, and I lifted him out onto the side as he gave a little cough and wiped water from his face.

The first thing I said when he looked at me was “That’s why you don’t play around the pool!” Cole started crying, and as I explained how dangerous the pool can be, I stripped his soaking clothes off and wrapped him in a towel. Only then did I hug him so tightly that any water left in his lungs would have been squeezed out.

He cried for a little while, then he curled up in my dad’s lap and went to sleep.

Sunday he started talking about it. He said that he went into the water, that he held his breath, and that his daddy, the Superhero, saved him.

Besides playing around the pool in the first place, Cole did all of the right things. He took a breath as he fell, didn’t panic, kicked his legs and used his arms, and was already coming back to the surface when John grabbed him. He took in one small mouth-full of water, and he didn’t really breathe any in. I honestly believe that the work we’ve done with him in the pool paid off.

It’s never too early to teach your kids about the fun and the danger of water. It’s never too early to start teaching them how to swim. Check your local YMCAs, public pools, recreation departments, gyms, or American Red Cross chapters for classes. See if you’re lucky enough to have an Infant Swimming Resource instructor nearby. And/or just get into the water with them early and often.


  • By otis, July 28, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

    Very few people appreciate the fact that having a child can turn you into a superhero!

  • By heels, July 28, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

    It’s one of the increasingly few benefits, in fact!

    Of course, you also get to be the Super Villain. Life is all about balance…

  • By Elizabeth, July 28, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

    John’s secret identity as a Superhero has been revealed. I am glad Cole is safe and that he has such great parents.

  • By HeatherPride, July 29, 2008 @ 7:09 am

    Wow, that’s awesome that you’ve been working with your little guy on the swimming thing, and that it kept him from freaking out when he fell. Also, on your post below – it hasn’t happened to me yet, but I have no doubt that it will. I’m constantly putting my foot in my mouth so it’s just a matter of time! Don’t worry about the handful of people you’re bound to tick off. If you start censoring yourself then you’ll just be boring! Fight the boredom!

  • By Jami, July 29, 2008 @ 10:22 am

    We have a pool and because of that, both of our kids have been at least drown-proofed since about the time they could walk. And both of them have taken inadvertent dips in the pool when they were much younger, my son even managing to go in in the middle of winter while wearing lots of heavy clothes. But because they knew what to do in the water – even though they might not have known how to “swim” – rescuing them never involved any more than reaching down and picking them up. (OK, my daughter got picked up by her hair, but she’s got plenty.)

    But hell yeah, get your kids into the water and teach them how to not only survive there but also to have fun there!

  • By Katie, July 29, 2008 @ 1:51 pm


    In my family we start dunking babes as early as possible. My neice went under at 11 months.

    This is one of my biggest fears, and I’m not even a mom yet!

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