Archive for September, 2014

Sunni Changed My Life Forever

How a Near Tragedy Fueled My Passion

This time of year makes me both excited and nervous. Warmer weather means more outside activities, and in South Texas, more opportunities to be in and around the water. Though I love our wonderful Texas weather, I brace myself to hear the invariable report of the first drowning accident of the season. For me, water wisdom and risk assessment is personal. Twenty-two years ago, a four year old named Sunni nearly died at a pool I was managing, and my life was changed forever.

There were two lifeguards watching the area and two camp counselors in the water with the children. I was talking to the maintenance man when I was suddenly compelled to step to the edge of the pool. What I saw was Sunni’s body floating right next to her oblivious camp counselor. I waited a few beats to see if Sunni was just playing at holding her breath and then I reached over the edge and pulled her to me. As I rolled her face up to mine, I could see she was unconscious. Though I reached her and was able to revive her, I have never been the same.

The experience shook me to my core and pointed the direction of my life’s work. There were four people watching the water that day and one person standing right next to her. And yet, they did not see. They did not act. If Sunni had known to rollover, float on her back and yell for help, the rescue that day would have been very different.

Please spend the time teaching your kiddos about water safety the same way you do about stranger danger and what to do if they get lost. Assess every body of water for possible risks and take action to mitigate those risks. Know that no one is ever safe around water, we can only make them safer. Make sure someone knows CPR and that access to the water is controlled. Have dedicated, assigned supervision at all times and make sure your kiddos know how to swim well. Practice rollovers and back floats regularly, and enjoy the water!

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September 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment


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