Judah Brown Project info@judahbrownproject.org

Cameron Seale

On August 13, 2020, we almost lost our son, Xander to a non fatal drowning.  We had spent all morning at our neighborhood pool enjoying the last moments of summer.  When Xander got out of the pool to have a snack, he asked if he could remove his puddle jumpers while he ate.

  After a quick snack we started to clean up and after a few seconds I looked up and could not see him.  Our table was just a few feet from the pool and he didn’t appear to be in the pool so I took two steps towards the restroom thinking he went to the bathroom before he went to swim again.  Those two steps brought me just enough closer to the pool to see him face down on the bottom of the pool. I jumped in, threw his blue lifeless body out of the water and immediately started CPR while a neighbor called 911.  I just knew he was gone.

  After a few rounds, he tried to cough up water and started vomiting but he remained lifeless so I continued CPR until he appeared to try to breathe on his own.  He was having a difficult time breathing so I continued rescue breathes until the first responders arrived.

  We were then taken by ambulance to our local airport and then life flighted to Texas Children’s in Houston.  When we arrived the ER doctor said the goal was to keep him alive for six hours.  If he made it to six hours, we could talk about his future goals.  That was the scariest number and the longest six hours of my life.  He was intubated a total of 18 hours, and we actually went home just three days after our arrival.

  As blessed as we are and thankful for his outcome, the reality is that his survival is the exception.  Once things calmed down and we were able to figure out the timeline, it was less than four minutes from the time he was in my lap to the time 911 was called.

  It was silent. Drowning happens UNDER the water.  It happens fast.  I was only a few feet from him, and didn’t hear it. My daughter who is older was also close by in the pool and also didn’t see or hear him.  Those who know me know that I am the definition of a helicopter mom and this happened to US! 

  Drowning is quick, silent and can happen to ANYONE.  Please put all distractions away, designate a pool watcher, be in the water within reach of those non swimmers and PLEASE don’t solely rely on floaties and puddle jumpers.

  Swim lessons at an early age are so important! Xander actually had annual swim lessons every summer and this still happened to him.  YOU are their best safety precaution. 

  Xander has since mentioned multiple times how he thought he still had his floaties on, how he would have never jumped in if he knew he didn’t.  The puddle jumpers gave him confidence to do things he couldn’t quite do yet and the muscle memory in the vertical position, which is drowning position. 

   If I could go back I would change so much about that day.  I would lose the puddle jumpers and be in the water, I would clean up when all children were out of the water but even then have a designated adult to monitor water and kids while the other cleaned, etc.  I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to share Xander’s story knowing that it can hopefully prevent others from going through what we went through… or even worse.