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Sunday, July 1, 2012

It Only Takes a Second

Hi everybody. I should warn you that today's post is of a serious nature. Not to be a buzz kill, but my message is an important one. I am dedicating today's blog to a very special person. 

See that cute blond kid in the photo above? That is my Uncle Mike when he was a wee lad. Today marks the day 30 years ago when he had a near drowning accident that changed everything.

No need to get into the details, but lets just say Uncle Mike was not being properly supervised by the human he was with, around a pool that had a hole in the fencing big enough for a four year old to get through.

This is Uncle Mike with Mom last Fall...

You see, the reason they call it a near drowning, is that although he stopped breathing, and his heart stopped that day, Michael didn't die. He was resuscitated by his rescuers, but not before serious irreversible brain damage was done.

I love my Uncle Mike. I have been visiting him since I was just a puppy. I am always very gentle around him, and he really responds in kind.

The reason I share this with you today, is that I want to give Mom a chance to spread the word about how extremely important water safety is. I know my pug friends know this, because a lot of us just sink when it comes to swimming. Others enjoy the water, and are quite skilled at swimming. With us, it is instinct, but with human kids, they need to be taught. Taught to swim, and to always have an adult around when they go near the water. Thing is, that kids don't understand what can happen if they wander off without a grown up. That is why all grown ups need to make a commitment to keeping the kids safe.

It only takes a second!!!

Some tips from The American Red Cross

Make Water Safety Your Priority
  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
  • Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
  • If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
  • Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
  • Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.

Maintain Constant Supervision
  • Actively supervise children whenever around the water—even if lifeguards are present. Do not just drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach—designate a responsible adult to supervise.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
 Know What to Do in an Emergency
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
Link to Red Cross Water Safety


  1. Very important information to share, Wilma. We do take our water safety seriously, even putting sticks in our baby pool in case a bird gets in and can't get out. We don't know any little ones, but we do make sure that our gates are secured so none from the neighborhood can get in and hurt themselves in our bigger pool.
    Unfortunately, too many people think it can't happen to them. So sorry your uncle Mike had to pay the consequences.

  2. Wilma , how sad and how brave of you to make sure we think first about the safety of those who are ours and more importantly of those who are not. Our best wishes to Mike and his family. Happy 1st of July and pop over as Posiedorg has a guest blog on my site re animal rescue shelter she wishes to help. Give her a thumbs up.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Thanks for those important safety tips. Our mom has worked for her entire life with people with developmetnal disabilities and brain injuries and have met a few people whose problems stem from an similar experience to t hat of your uncle. Thanks for sharing

    Urban Hounds

  4. Awesome post. Say hi and sending warm thoughts to Uncle Mike
    Benny & Lily

  5. Have just found your wonderful blog through The Pugs Strike Back. Thank you for this very important reminder of water safety... I'm sorry that your brother suffered for it... and will say a prayer for your family tonight.

  6. Wilma, this is a lesson that always bares repeating.

    Just last week I read a very interesting article on how to recognize a drowning victim - it's certainly not the thrashing around you see in the movies!

    We have an above ground pool and the gate latch is such that even most adults can't figure it out! :)

    Hugs -


    1. Sarah - do you have a link that you can post for that article?


  7. Hi Wilma
    Mom and dad had an inground pool in the back yard when they moved in. A year or two after PlusOne was born, they filled it in. (There was no yard for PlusOne to play in) Mom had locks on every door that led anywhere outside, locks on the gate and she got PlusOne into swimming lessons at a very early age. She was not taking any chances. We are sorry about your uncle Mike and glad that you like visiting him.

    Roxy & Lucky

  8. Hi Wilma
    Thank you for taking the time to share this important water safety with all of us.
    With all this hot weather- so many peoples are near water,, and like you said it only takes a second.
    We send our love to your Uncle Mike. I am sure you make his heart happy.

  9. Wilma,
    You honor your Uncle Mike in such a special way by sharing this with all of us.

  10. A very important post. My parents put us in swimming lessons when we were tiny and always instilled water safety. Give uncle mike lots of pug kisses from us!

  11. Thank you Wilma for sharing your post. Stella Rose

  12. You are such a smart pug, Wilma, and your advice is wonderful. My grandparents had a pool & my parents were hyper-vigilant with us around it because it can be so dangerous, especially for young children. I know how much you love your Uncle Mike xoox

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