Knowing how to swim doesn’t stop 6-year-old from drowning

So many times, when you see a story about a child drowning, there will be comments such as “This is why my kids learned to swim” or something to that effect. People seem to think that knowing how to swim will safe guard their child from drowning. But sadly that isn’t the case as my neighbor found out.

Last Saturday, my neighbor had some friends over to enjoy her pool. That group included her daughter and her granddaughter. Six year old Ryland is a good swimmer. She has been taking lessons since she was three. She even has competed in a few swim meets. Ryland loves the pool and plays in her grandma’s (who she calls Bunny) pool all the time.

The doctors chalk it up to exhaustion causing her oxygen levels to suddenly drop while she held her breath as she tried to retrieve all of her dive sticks. The drop caused her to pass out. Her family was right there at the pool, but it still took them a moment or two to realize Ryland hadn’t come up for air. They immediately jumped in and pulled her out. She wasn’t breathing.

Luckily, there was nurse attending the party. She performed CPR as someone else called 911. Ryland began breathing again and was rushed to the hospital. While she was breathing on her own, she wasn’t conscious. They admitted her to the pediatric intensive care unit where they decided to keep her in a medically induced coma while they evaluated her.

It would be three days before they decided to bring her out of the coma. At that time, they knew she had some liver damage and there was still fluid in her lungs. But they wouldn’t know if there was any brain damage until they woke her up. Instant relief could be felt in the room as she immediately recognized her mother and her Bunny. She was able to whisper the answer to a few questions.

The next day, they took her off oxygen and even allowed her to get up though she tires easily and definitely isn’t back to her normal cheerful self. There will be a few more tests to run before she will be released from the hospital and her lungs will need the heal but so far everything miraculously looks good.

But Ryland’s story is a reminder to all of us that we need to be alert when our children are in the water. They could get a cramp, hit their head or as in the case of Ryland, suddenly pass out, and drown. Knowing how to swim is a good thing for everyone but it doesn’t make you “drown proof.”

Ryland’s mother is a single parent. While she has insurance for Ryland, there will undoubtedly be medical bills to pay. To help her out, a Go Fund Me page has been set up to collect donation to cover these costs. I know you don’t know this family but if you want to help, they and I would appreciate it. Even a small donation helps.