John Fisher was five years old when he and his family vacationed in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina – a trip they went on annually to visit relatives. It was the perfect set up for a family reunion: a beach house with a backyard pool! John started each day off the same: Breakfast. Check! Sunscreen. Check! Arm floaties. Check! Then he would dash out the door alongside his cousins for a day in the sun.
One afternoon, John decided to take off his arm floaties while playing in the pool, unbeknownst to his parents. He confidently got in the water, as he always had, to play games and practice all of his swimming skills. Abby, his mother, was nearby at the edge of the pool chatting with her sister. As John was playing and splashing around, he unintendedly made his way to the middle of the pool, which was four-and-a-half feet deep (deeper than he could stand while touching the bottom).
A few moments later, Abby heard a faint, “Mom! MOM!” She looked over and saw her son up to his chin in water, calling for her attention, while at the same time treading water to stay afloat. Within a second, Abby, fully clothed, jumped into the pool, grabbed John, and made their way to safety. As they were catching their breath on the side of the pool, she became overwhelmed with relief and gratitude that the situation hadn’t ended up any worse and that her son had remembered, from his time in swimming lessons, how to calmly stay afloat until he was able to get help. Abby couldn’t believe how fast he had made his way to the deep end without her noticing, and she realized, in an instant, how important it is to keep an eye on her children at all times when they are around water.
Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water, and it is important to equip kids with the tools they need to be confident in and around water. Because Abby knows that teaching her children how to be safe around water is a necessity – not a luxury – it was been a priority of hers to equip her children with the skills they need. Thankfully, John was trained in treading water, a skill he learned in “Froggie” level in swimming lessons at the YMCA – a skill that saved his life.