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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Swimming Kills People

"Can we go swimming?" asks Boy One.

My heart rate soars and breathing enters hyper-drive. Few things bring greater terror than the one activity (other than riding in my car) in which my children are most likely to die.

"It's too cold to go swimming."

"It's not too cold for me!"

"Can we just go to the park?"

"Plllleeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeeee can we go swimming?"

"Okay, fine. But you are not allowed to drown. There will be absolutely no drowning! Otherwise, I am going to have to resort to cutting off your Netflix privileges."

"I promise I'm not going to drown, Mom."

I must be overreacting. Things can't possibly be that bad. I should check an authority that can soothe my inflated sense of dread and foreboding. I am clearly being irrational.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), "Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger." Well, both of my small people definitely fall into that category. Terror unrelieved.

The CDC continues:

"Who is most at risk?
"Males: Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male."

Great. Boy One and Boy Two, not surprisingly, are both male. Maybe the next statistic will be better.

"Children: Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates. In 2009, among children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, more than 30% died from drowning. Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects). Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes."

Basically, that means if I drive my male children to a swimming pool before they are both 14 years old, there is a 97.8% chance that they will both die before the end of the day. Awesome. So much for calming my nerves.

Yet, we risk inevitable death and destruction and gather the seemingly infinite number of items necessary to procure the best possible outcome for our treacherous expedition:

- baby sunscreen
- aging lady sunscreen
- three swimsuits
- three towels
- six sandals
- water bottle

(I am already tired, and we haven't even finished packing.)

- cover-up for me
- two swim-shirts
- Spider-Man water wings
- baby life-jacket
- ridiculously over-sized sun hat
- ridiculously adorable toddler hat
- ridiculous quantity of snacks (so at least no one will die of hunger)
- stroller
- pool pass
- pool key

Alright. Although we appear ready to cross the Sahara, I daren't claim we are truly prepared to walk 30 yards to the pool. At any time, at any moment, things may spin drastically out of hand.

Wish me luck, fellow readers, as I venture forth into the unknown. In case you never hear from me again, feel free to leave a comment about your greatest (ir)rational fear for yourself or for your small people. May we all wallow in our groundless concerns together.


  1. Being that we just got back from pool ourselves. (Ages 53,43,12 & 9) this was appropriate! I still worry about the nine year old as his swimming skills are not even remotely close to "survival" much less "fun". I constantly have to check to see if he is where he can stand.... Is he within reach if a pool noodle, is he on his kickboard? If I happen to look away for a split second to talk with the another adult, is my husband watching him (likely not). So my dear (ir)rational or not...they will always be our babies and we will always be mama bears. Fiercely protecting our "cubs" from all dangers seen and unseen in our world!

  2. "Basically, that means if I drive my male children to a swimming pool before they are both 14 years old, there is a 97.8% chance that they will both die before the end of the day. Awesome. "

    I laughed out loud at that line. No, Raychel, that is NOT what that means! :)

  3. I too am terrified of my babies drowning. I consider my husband not nearly vigilant enough. Our six year old is now obsessed with boogie boarding and I am dreading summer!


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