Last summer we were invited to a swimming get-together at a neighbor friend’s house. Knowing that I had to work for a couple more hours, my friends generously offered to watch my kids so they wouldn’t miss out on the pool party fun. I felt anxious about it. My son, who was 4 at the time, had fallen into a pool the summer before which freaked him (and me) out and stunted his swimming development. Needless to say, he wasn’t as strong of a swimmer as his buddies.
After slathering suntan lotion all over his body, I got him set up with all the floaties that made him feel comfortable as an independent swimmer. I’m serious- he had arm floaties, a zebra ring floatie, and who knows, probably a life jacket or two on. He was covered.
As I drove away, I started to get nervous. I had that mom intuition thing going on. I thought I was going to be sick. I can’t leave my little guy at the pool. Even though my friends are all amazing parents, I just couldn’t get over the fear of something happening to him.
After rescheduling my plans, I grabbed my suit and joined the party. I’m a little overbearing at a pool party, following my non-swimmer around as he splashes away having an absolute blast. He doesn’t seem to mind as his buddies are all jumping in, doing pretty darn good moves for small kids. Lots of laughing and diving and belly flops around. And then BOOM.
One of the strongest swimmers stopped swimming mid pool. He just went under. His sweet little face made it up to the surface and then would disappear back under. I just happen to catch this happening out of the corner of my eye. That’s when I yelled, “GET HIM. HE’S DROWNING!” I don’t remember if I pulled him out or one of the dads did. He was fine, just terrified. And we as parents were as well.
Nobody had really thought they had to stare at the strong swimmers unless they were doing a cool trick. I never would have thought that one of the strong ones would just flat out get tired in the middle of the pool. We all thought we needed to pay extra attention to my little guy, who in hindsight was probably one the safest kids out there with his 400 floats on his body.
The point of the story is that kids need supervision in the pool. Even the strong swimmers.