The day my 2 Year old Daughter Almost Drowned While Dipping her Feet in the sea

At the beach

It was an afternoon just like any other. We went to the beach – like we do most days. The kids were excited and impatient to dip their feet in the sea and splash about so my husband took them while I unpacked the toys.

I was just about to sit down when I saw my son lose balance and fall in the water fully dressed. My husband was right by him so he quickly picked him up and started walking back to the sand. At the same time I looked over to check what my daughter was up to but…

I can’t see her.

My heart sinks.

Then I realise she was right there in the same place she was standing previously but no longer standing up. She was lying on her back unable to get up.

MY DAUGHTER WAS DROWNING!

All of a sudden I felt an amazing amount of heat travel through my body and everything seemed to happen in slow motion. You know when you are having a nightmare and you try to call for help but no one can hear you regardless of how loud you call them? It was just like that. When I saw my daughter lying on her back I started shouting ‘Help her, she can’t get up. Help her. HELP HER!!!!!’ My husband was right there but had his back turned as he was dealing with my son and the sea was so loud he couldn’t hear me calling for help.

I started running. I ran like I have never run before. It must have taken me a couple of seconds to get to her but it felt like an eternity.

‘THIS IS IT. SHE’S GONE.’

When I finally got to her I picked her up and smacked her hard on the back. She was choking. I remember thinking ‘This is it. She is gone.’ Suddenly there was a faint ‘Mummy’ and then another ‘Mummy’ and I knew she was OK. She wasn’t gone. She was still with us. JUST!

Suddenly my body started to shake from head to toe and I couldn’t stop crying or let go of her. We were both soaking wet but I just couldn’t let go. I needed to feel her next to me. I needed to feel her breathing, I needed to feel her heartbeat. I needed to know she was OK.

SHE WAS OK.

I was a mess. I just couldn’t believe I’d almost lost my daughter.

My little girl almost drowned while dipping her feet in the sea. The water barely reaching her ankles. How could this be? How could this happen to us? We go to the beach every day. The kids play in the sea every day. Both my husband and I were close by and still she ALMOST DROWNED!

I have replayed that afternoon’s events in my head over and over again since it happened.

If only my husband hadn’t turned his back to her while helping her brother

If only I kept my eyes on her.

If only I didn’t assume she would be OK because she barely had her feet in the water.

If only…

It has taken me a long time to to write about that afternoon’s events. I suppose I just wasn’t ready. To be honest I’m not sure if I’m ready now. I feel I have to. I feel I owe it to you. Hopefully sharing that afternoon’s events will help raise awareness of how easy it is for a young child to drown.

You always think it won’t happen to you but trust me, it can happen to anyone.

It can take less than a minute for a drowning to occur. So please keep a vigilant watch over your kids while they are in the water – even if they are just standing near to or in very shallow water – and you should be able to prevent unnecessary accidents.

Have you had any similar experiences before? Please leave me a comment below.

Love, P

38 comments

  1. This is awful Pat, I can’t imagine how scary that must have been. Thank goodness she was ok. I’m so wary of my daughter – even today in the paddling pool, just a few inches, I couldn’t take my eyes off her or go inside just to the kitchen. #StayClassyMama

  2. OH Pat this story really makes me well up. The thoughts that went you through your mind both during and after, it’s awful and nothing any parent ever ever wants to experience. It is so scary and it takes but a second for something to happen. Well done for writing it down, it can’t of been easy but I hope it helps you as well as others. #stayclassymama (and thank you for joining us at #familyfun) xx

  3. How terrifying that must have been. It goes to show hoe even though we think we do everything we can to keep them safe, you never know how quick it takes for disaster to strike. Glad you’re ALL ok, sounds terrifying x

  4. OH my goodness how terrifying and although hard for you to go over it again, so important to raise awareness of how quickly children can drown and even in the shallowest of water. I remember when my little boy slipped in the shallow bit of the baby pool when he was 2 or 3, and I was right there, literally inches from him. But it terrified me how quickly he went under and how he didn’t have the knowledge or awareness at that age to push himself up with his legs so he just let himself go. I was so scared and if my back had been turned for one minute, which it so easily could have been, it could have been a different story. You can never be too careful with them in the water as I learnt that day. #StayClassyMama

  5. That must have been terrifying. I can’t imagine the moment you realised what was happening. The water scares me because it’s one thing we can’t control. We go swimming and learn how to reach for the side, and all those life saving things but at the end of the day you cannot control the waves, or the lake or bath or whatever. Thanks for sharing your story x #StayClassyMama

  6. I get really nervous taking other kids to the beach, even now. And for a long time I wouldn’t take the kids by myself. I wanted my husband to go too, so that one parent could go out deep with the older two and one stay next to the little one. There’s just no second chance in water, and waves make it so unpredictable. That said, all the near drowning I’ve been present for have all been in pools. And thankfully none have actually drowned. But it happens far more regularly than you think. #Stayclassymama

  7. The Tubblet climbed the stairs when she was tiny, caught herself on the child gate at the top and bounced to the bottom. Like you, we were terrified. Fortunately she was okay, just a very sore head. I’ve never written that down or talked about it much and it was over 12 years ago. So glad she was okay. Sending hugs

  8. Ohmygosh Im so so sorry you had to go though this… I cannot imagine what you must have been feeling… I though I lost my son once when he wandered off through a gap in a fence at a play park… terrifying! #stayclassymama

  9. Oh my!!! I’m so glad she’s ok, and you obviously reacted so quickly… This sent shivers down my spine, but it really does sound like it was a freak accident. You’re right, though, that it really can happen to any of us. I’m glad you’ve written about it, as hard as I know it must have been. Hugs xx #stayclassymama

  10. You poor thing, its terrifying isn’t it? Its happened to me with both of my kids, thankfully nothing serious but that horrific moment when you think you’ve lost them. Water is so dangerous. Its so important that they learn to swim as a soon as possible isn’t it? Glad your story ended ok.
    #stayclassymama

  11. Thats a horrid experience -thank goodness you were watching too! We had a similar incident when our daughter was 18 months by a pool. She just walked into the deep end! So scary and I have never ran as quickly as I did! Stay safe. #Stayclassymama

  12. this happened to a co-worker’s daughter this past week and the poor thing needed 15 min of CPR and a breathing tube for 2 days. She appears to be on the mend now, with no permanent injury. Scary stuff. We have a large pool and it gives me nightmares. #familyfun

  13. How scary Pat and so glad it turned out ok because the other isn’t worth thinking about. I’m always a little cautious of the sea anyway but if I ever go again with my little I’ll definitely watch him like a hawk. β€ͺThank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬ always a pleasure to have you come by. X

  14. As an ex-lifeguard & mom, your stories brought tears to my eyes. So glad she is okay! Amazing job reacting quickly. I grew up on west coast America and our local beach was the Pacific Ocean. We were taught to never turn our backs to the waves. Yes, walking backwards from the oceans when leaving it. But I remember the day I did not follow this advice and was pulled off my feet from a wave. I managed to keep from falling completely under the wave but so important to understand the dangers of being near the sea or ocean. So scary that you can drown in only 3 inches of water. Thank you for sharing your story! Xoxo

  15. I got a knot in my stomach just reading this. I’m so glad she was ok! We also love visits to the beach and honestly I can end up on edge because people let their children swim right out past the pier and aren’t watching them. I end up watching them like a hawk, I think it stems from my sister nearly drowning at our local pool and the lifeguard refusing to jump in because he assumed she was fooling around!

    1. Oh no! That’s just so wrong. Lifeguards are not suppose to assume they should jump in just in case. Glad she was ok. Thank you so much for reading. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to write this post. Hopefully it will help raise awareness x

  16. Oh my gosh that is just terrifying! I saw a girl drown at a holiday park and the sight has never left me. She was saved thankfully but gosh I know how scared I was then for a stranger let alone for my own daughter.

  17. oh my goodness I am so glad she’s ok. We had this with Jake on holiday the second year we had him.He fell face first into the sea in Cornwall and we had to run to get to him… he had run off ahead of us and we weren’t far. Yet not one person around him went to help and pick him up, they just stared. I was in a state once I got to him so I know exactly how you felt. I was so upset but then so angry at the bystanders. All this don’t touch that child, yes you bloody well do when they are 18 months and fallen in the sea!

  18. Oh bless you, that is a freak accident. I suppose I know that people can drown in two inches of water but I never really think it’s going to happen. I’ve shared this post x

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