Judah Brown Project info@judahbrownproject.org

Kelly Fowler

There are so many things I wish I knew so many years ago. However, one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t know how to keep my kids safe near water. All my kids wore puddle jumpers at some point. I thought I was protecting them, but I wasn’t. My kids thought they could swim, when they couldn’t.

About a year ago, we stayed at a cabin near a lake when our youngest Shiloh, slipped out the back door that an older sibling left unlocked in the walkout basement area. I was upstairs cleaning up lunch and looked around, Shiloh was gone. A voice in my head said, “she’s by the dock.” I ran downstairs to see the door, unlocked. I screamed her name, fearing the absolute worst. I ran to the dock scooping her up as fast as I could, I got to her just in time. I know it could have easily ended in a horrible tragedy and my life would be complete different right now. It all happened so fast.

I’m thankful I was able to recently revisit that lake this year and praise God for that voice inside my head. Unfortunately, this was not the only time one of my kids went to the water and got in without a life jacket on.

However, after this incident we finally began really researching what we needed to do in order to keep them safe. Still, it took months for me to find that puddle jumpers were a big reason for my children falsely believing they could swim. I thought all kids would just slip back in the water, fearless and I just knew I had to keep my eye on them around them 100% of the time, which is so hard when you have several kids. I had no idea during my entire 10 years of being a mom, that using these puddle jumpers contributed to so many deaths each year and could have easily contributed to my child’s own death. 

What I thought was keeping my children safe were actually setting them up to drown. Their brains didn’t  understand that what was allowing them to “swim” in the water was actually only causing them to float and without it, they would drown. I didn’t know so many things that I could have done to keep my kids safe. Such as to teach them how to self rescue, the importance of appointing a water watcher for 15 minutes at a time because let’s face it when everyone is watching the kids, no one is really watching the kids. There are so many layers of protection to prevent drowning that I simply didn’t know about. Kids are so fast.