Mother brings attention to water safety after tragedy hits family
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's a frightening statistic that parents need to know. Nearly 3,000 children die every year from drowning.
Drowning is the number one cause of death in children up to the age of 4 and it's the number two killer of other children and teens. One local water safety advocate says her message came at a cost.
"It was June 6, 2008, we moved in our first home here and we fell in love with the house," Michelle Zieg said.
Zieg, her husband and children also fell in love with the pool in the backyard. The family had only been in the pool twice when the unimaginable happened. 17-month-old Brayden managed to get out of the house and into the water.
"Nathaniel pointed to the pool and Brayden was in the pool. My husband took him out of the pool and called 911 and began CPR," Zieg said.
It was too late, Brayden did not make it.
"It changes your perspective to realize it can happen to any of us with children. We know how quickly they move," Zieg said.
Since Brayden's death, Zieg pours her time into sending a message to other parents. Brayden's name is an acronym for her organization. The name stands for building resources and awareness of youth drowning through encouragement and networking.
"I'm willing to admit that we made mistakes. There are things we did not do and it's out of that mistake that I encourage others to make those steps," Zieg said.
Zieg now teaches what she calls the layers of water safety. In addition to knowing CPR, both the parent and child should take swim lessons and always have a designated water watcher.
"Do not use the telephone, no eating or chatting with friends, give undivided attention to the child," Zieg said.
Zieg also said to have a fence around your pool, always have child-proof locks on your door, never leave toys in the water and always empty portable pools. Zieg wants parents to remember children can drown in bathtubs, toilets and even in mop buckets.
"It only takes an inch for a child to drown and my biggest desire is that others learn from my mistake and take the extra precautions," Zieg said.
For more information about CPR classes and swim lessons offered in and around the Lowcountry you can go to www.swimsafelowcountry.com.
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