Carter, HUNTER, CARTER & CHLOE, Playdates THE DAY CARTER ALMOST DROWNED 4 June 2014

At first I wasn’t going to write about this. There’s not much fun in broadcasting your mistakes for the whole world to see and judge. But then I thought, this certainly is a major life event in our family that I’d want to document, and I do hope it serves as a reminder and alert to you parents out there.

Over the weekend, we had some of the kids’ friends over for a swim playdate. Carter always has his float strapped on near the water, because he’s fearless. But, we decided to take the float off and try it on my friend’s son. I was fussing around with my friend’s kid, and watching him paddle in the water.

And then I made a terrible, terrible mistake.

I took my eyes off Carter for a few minutes.

I knew he was wandering off to the other pool, where Chris and Hunter were. So I yelled out real loudly, “CHRRRIIISSSS! Carter’s coming to you!”, and left it at that.

That was a horrible mistake for me to make, because, by sheer bad luck, Chris was underwater with Hunter at that moment, and didn’t hear me.

Chris didn’t see Carter approach them, he didn’t see Carter get into the pool, and he didn’t see Carter struggle in the water and go below the surface.

A few minutes after looking at my friend’s son, I suddenly and randomly (AND THANK GOD I DID THIS AND NOT A SECOND LATER!) decided to check on my own kids and Chris.

I walked over and saw Carter in the water, sort of floating there.

“Oh”, I thought, “he’s happily swimming”, and walked closer.

Then it hit me. I remembered, HE HAD NO FLOAT ON.

And the next part happened in just a few seconds, and I was in a state of sheer shock and on auto-pilot…… My heart stopped beating. I’m sure of it. I raced to the edge, and saw Carter completely submerged (upright) under the water, his hair floating around his face, and his eyes WIDE OPEN. Not looking at me, but looking up and at nothing in particular. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t horrified, it was all sort of a matter-of-fact scene, weirdly. I don’t even think I freaked out.

He was motionless in the water, which was still. He wasn’t struggling.

I screamed out “CARRRTERRR!!” and at this point Chris swung around and looked at me in surprise, and I vaguely recall my friend approaching from behind.

I reached in, grabbed him by the arm, and yanked him out.

He wasn’t responding, from memory. But it was all a split second, so it’s hard to tell. Because in that split second, I bent him over and pressed his belly against my forearm, and after another split second he coughed up a mouthful of water.

And he cried. His face turned red and he WAILED!

I was really happy to hear that wail.

He was extremely clingy after that, and very subdued. But was otherwise fine.

In fact, he had a big lunch, a cup of milo, and crashed for a 1.5 hour nap (with me hovering around his bed, just to check he was still breathing.

 

When he woke up, we went to the hospital.  There was a sign saying there was a SIX HOUR WAIT there. But at triage, the moment they heard what happened, we were hustled into another room at record speed. And another room, where there were checks made, more questions asked, and another room.. and it was all a bit of a blur.

But we passed through triage, doctor checks, vitals monitoring, and even a chest X-ray…. all within 15 minutes.

The doctor told me that a near drowning incident actually ranks on their top priority, like having an arm chopped off!!

He’s getting his blood oxygen levels checked here:

CarterHospital01

All hooked up to the machine:

CarterHospital02 CarterHospital03

He got overwhelmed quickly and cried 🙁 During the chest x-ray, Chris had to force-hold him in between the two plates, and it was a complete nervous breakdown for my baby 🙁

CarterHospital06

 

Because near drownings is serious stuff for very young kids, he had to be admitted overnight. And, oh boy, Carter was in HEAVEN!! He thought he’d struck the lottery and was in a luxury hotel or something.. with loads of attention from nurses, and a very very contrite and worried Mum showering him with more attention and kisses.

CarterHospital05

He was so happy he sang at the top of his lungs for ONE HOUR non stop before falling asleep…. and woke me up the next morning signing merrily again. He was sooo delighted!! And even more amazed and delighted that, for the first time in his life, I slept next to him in bed.

He couldn’t believe it and kept stroking my face in wonder, and bursting into the biggest grin and squeal of delight every time I opened my eyes to peep at him. And he threw his arms around my neck countless times as we lay in bed, facing each other.

It was WONDERFUL, lying there in bed with my baby, and realising he was all ok and would be ok.

He was discharged from hospital the next morning, with no after effects, and seemingly no recollection of what happened. Chris and I have had nightmares since, though, and I just thank God I went to check on him not one second later. Things may have been very different…

I haven’t been able to thank everyone personally, but it really meant a lot that friends dropped little notes, SMS’s etc, when they heard what happened. I read everything and was really touched that people cared. We appreciate it.

And I’ll never make that mistake again. And I hope you never do too.

 CarterHospital04

(this photo was taken just moments before he fell asleep in his hospital bed, with me right next to him. I love this photo.)

46 Comments

  • Danae Lim on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    To be honest, a good idea would be to take this opportunity to raise the awareness of parents learning first aid. That could mean the difference between life and death.

    Reply
  • Beverly Burgess on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Do you see cases like this often Danae Lim? Id imagine you would in a&e!

    Reply
  • Danae Lim on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Not often, but there is this particularly dysfunctional family that always comes in. The kid was left alone in a tub for a while, mother keptt saying she didn’t know how it happened. She clearly left the kid and forgot, then found him face down. Really low socioeconomic status, unfortunately, their kids have no chance in life at all, if they survive to adulthood.

    Reply
  • Danae Lim on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Not often, but there is this particularly dysfunctional family that always comes in. The kid was left alone in a tub for a while, mother keptt saying she didn’t know how it happened. She clearly left the kid and forgot, then found him face down. Really low socioeconomic status, unfortunately, their kids have no chance in life at all, if they survive to adulthood.

    Reply
  • Danae Lim on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Not often, but there is this particularly dysfunctional family that always comes in. The kid was left alone in a tub for a while, mother keptt saying she didn’t know how it happened. She clearly left the kid and forgot, then found him face down. Really low socioeconomic status, unfortunately, their kids have no chance in life at all, if they survive to adulthood.

    Reply
    • Grace posted on June 13, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Beverly, so glad Carter is okay! Your description of him being so excited to sleep next to you is adorable (: What a sweetheart!

      And Danae Lim, that’s a really horrible thing to say. I’m not condoning what the mum did (clearly, as I do not know the family and all we have are your words) but you shouldn’t peg someone’s ‘chance in life’ to their socioeconomic status.

      Reply
      • Beverly! posted on June 14, 2014 at 8:49 pm

        Thanks Grace 🙂 He sure was awesome to cuddle that night!!

        Reply
  • Ashley Poh on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Actually bcoz of this incident, I am thinking of attending a first aid course. I would not have think of elbowing the belly to expel the water.

    Reply
  • Ashley Poh on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Actually bcoz of this incident, I am thinking of attending a first aid course. I would not have think of elbowing the belly to expel the water.

    Reply
  • Ashley Poh on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Actually bcoz of this incident, I am thinking of attending a first aid course. I would not have think of elbowing the belly to expel the water.

    Reply
  • Danae Lim on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    That is not actually the right way to do it. You can rupture organs in a small child. You do back thrusts and rescue breaths. I think all parents and teachers should learn first aid.

    Reply
  • Beverly Burgess on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    I’ve done a first aid course and know what to do with infants but frankly, at that split moment in time, it didn’t even occur to me! That’s the scary thing. I just instinctually draped him over my arm and fortunately that did the trick.

    Reply
  • Danae Lim on Facebook posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Ah, but when did you do it though? People don’t realize they need to update constantly. I personally alternate adult and pediatric life support courses annually for work, but most people should do one every 3 years or so.

    Reply
  • Danae Lim on Facebook posted on June 5, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Obviously the point is not to be judgemental. It is done, you had the sense to check on your child and a major disaster was averted. Reaching out to emphasise all this to parents is a great thing to do.

    Reply
  • Amy posted on June 5, 2014 at 5:58 am

    I am so glad he is fine! He is so adorable too! I love how he is so fearless albeit this can lead to some scary and dangerous situations!

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks Amy, it was a HUGE scare for us!

      Reply
  • Marie posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I think every parent has gone though something similar, it’s just insanely scary! Glad he’s okay.

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      I wouldn’t wish the experience on my greatest enemy. It was horrible!

      Reply
  • internettourist michelle posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Glad he is ok. (Internettourist–Michelle)

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      THanks Michelle 🙂

      Reply
  • Stephanie Moy on Facebook posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Such a horrific ordeal but so glad you are all safe and healthy! Your post increases awareness 🙂

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      Thanks Stephanie. And I really hope it does!

      Reply
  • sharon ng (@booron) posted on June 5, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Just so glad to hear that Carter is ok.. Don’t blame yourself for it..

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      It’s hard not to, but I know what you mean..

      Reply
  • MH posted on June 5, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Oh no! It must have been a terrifying experience for you, Chris and of course, Carter! Thank God Carter is ok! And it’s really good that you thought to bring him to A&E after to ensure he is ok and be monitored in case of delayed/secondary drowning! No one should judge you for something like this which could happen to ANYBODY.

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Actually it was my parents that urged us to go! 🙂

      Reply
  • Jesslyn Irminger on Facebook posted on June 5, 2014 at 11:03 am

    So glad to hear he is alright.

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks Jess 🙂

      Reply
  • Angie posted on June 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I had a similar incident with my middle child when she was abt 2. She had on the ring float but she lost her balance in the water and tumbled into the water twice. Another time she was trying to get through the railing at Vivo and she was just an arm’s length away from dropping into the water. It’s scary just thinking abt it even till today and I can understand how traumatised you and Chris must still feel. It’s a good thing Carter seems to have forgotten the episode. It took me a long time to allow the kids back into the pool and even till today, now that she’s turned 10, I watch all my kids like a paranoid hawk. Thank God for His protection!

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Oh poor dear, hopefully the experiences haven’t stayed in her memory!
      And, like you, I’m not in a big hurry to let Carter have a swim again..

      Reply
  • Penny Ong on Facebook posted on June 5, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    You did what you could Bev! All is safe now 🙂

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks Penny. I’m just glad there were no after affects!!

      Reply
  • vicki posted on June 5, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Beverly, so glad that your little boy is ok. Came across this, hope it helps.

    Reply
  • vicki posted on June 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Teaching baby to swim at 7 months.

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      it’s a VERY good move to teach swimming to kids as young as possible. In Carter’s case, it gave him the knowledge to hold his breath the moment he’s underwater. A very valuable skill IMHO!

      Reply
      • vicki posted on June 6, 2014 at 1:19 am

        oops sorry there was supposed to be a link. The previous video taught the toddler how to turn over and swim.

        Reply
  • Angela Mok on Facebook posted on June 5, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    the important lesson is that we always learn from our mistakes. *hugs* glad that carter is alright, tough kid, this one!

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      He’s quite a toughie! Now I wonder if he’ll be afraid of swimming….

      Reply
  • Phyllis Tang Solinas posted on June 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    So glad to hear Carter is alright. What a terrifying experience. Thank you for the reminder to all parents!

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      I hope our scare helps parents out there be more alert, or at the very least, realise how easy it is to be distracted for just an instant!

      Reply
  • Petrina posted on June 5, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Hugz Beverly but thank you so much for sharing and reminding how careful we have to be around young children. My son doesn’t use floats ( swim school advice) so we have to be so watchful

    Reply
  • Iris posted on June 5, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Glad that Carter is fine now. Don’t worry, he is a blessed boy! 🙂

    Reply
  • Katy posted on June 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    This happened to my son too, a bit older than Carter. But I was surprised that it is such a SILENT event. No shouting or splashing like on TV. And my son also was upright not floating horizontal.

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      YES! I forgot to mention it in my post… but I was SHOCKED that it was just so… silent. Chris is still freaked out that he was mere metres away, yet never heard or saw a thing. Not one splash above the water, not one sound.

      A far cry from what you’d imagine “drowning” to be huh….

      Reply
  • Father Michael posted on June 12, 2014 at 2:59 am

    I was in the process of moving to a new assignment, and didn’t have an Internet connection for almost a week. It’s a good thing I pray for everyone anyway, or else who knows what might have happened.

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on June 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks so much for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers 🙂

      Reply

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