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“My Husband Thinks It’s No Big Deal to Leave Our Toddler Unattended in a Kiddie Pool!”

Trigger warning: Infant death

One woman is understandably anxious and concerned after repeatedly having to stress to her husband that it is not safe to leave their 2 and a half year old alone in the kiddie pool for any length of time. Despite the dangers of leaving children around water unattended being well-documented, rather than being remorseful and seeing the error of his ways, her husband thinks that she is being dramatic! In fact, he puts her anxiety about the issue down to the fact that she’s recently given birth and is hormonal!

I’m at a loss and I need your horror stories or advice on how to get through my husband’s head. Husband is a very involved parent and we generally get along well and are able to agree on most things or compromise on most things. We have a 2.5 year old son and a 3 week old son. I’ve been spending a lot of time breastfeeding our newborn while husband takes 2.5 yr old outside to play in his kiddie pool. Husband will come into the house to pee or grab something and will leave our son unattended either in the pool or near it. I’ve told him multiple timed that is not ok, that drowning is the second leading cause of death in toddlers , that a toddler can drown in very little water quickly and silently, and that it is NEVER worth the risk. I just found him doing it again today (he came inside the house and grabbed his swimsuit while our son was outside near the kiddie pool. I went outside as I was breastfeeding my newborn to tell him this was the last time he was doing that and that I would not hesitate to report this to our pediatrician and CPS and that I need him to take a child safety class about the dangers of drowning and to never leave our son unattended near water like that again. He literally blamed my post partum hormones and called me a party pooper who was raining on his parade (because lately I’ve been asking him more often to not do things I consider unsafe for our toddler, one of them being that he encourages our son to jump off the kitchen island while husband catches him- I trust husband to catch him, but dont trust toddler to always understand that he shouldn’t jump if his Dad is not there). I’m very frustrated with him but above all, I want my son to be safe and husband is not keeping him safe in these situations and that’s the bottom line. I’m don’t know what else to do.

Commenters were rightly horrified and advised the mum that the best course of action was to get rid of the pool stat, as her husband clearly could not be relied upon to ensure their child’s safety.

Get rid of the kiddie pool ASAP. (wigglebuttbiscuits)

Immediately my thought too. OP can’t properly supervise at the moment and dad refuses to, so it needs to go. Play in a sprinkler instead. (WastingAnotherHour)

Yes! Maybe the husband too. He’s blaming your hormones for the anxiety instead of being responsible to reduce your anxiety (Ok-Chemical9678)

Even with the pool gone, people thought that it was paramount that the woman gets the message across to her husband since he no doubt baths him too.

Drowning is the #1 cause of death for kids 1-4

An attentive adult must stay within an arm’s length of a child around water even if the child knows how to swim.

It’s not just a supervision issue though. The part that people really don’t want to hear is that unless the pool is emptied after use it should be secured behind a fence with a child proof gate. 

Related article: The Water Survival Skills All Infants and Children Should Be Taught

Not a replacement for either of these but swimming lessons should be part of the plan for all kids, and 2.5 years old is not too young (xyzzzzy)

Also, secondary drowning can happen even 24 hours after the child inhales a small amout of water, and it requires immediate madical attention.You should be always aware what happens to your child in the pool/bath. Your child falls, gasps for air and inhales a bit of water – this is not an unimaginable scenario. (Independence-2021)

One person suggested bringing it up in front of the Dr so that s/he could impress the importance upon her husband if he still failed to listen to her.

You are dealing with a newborn AND the fear of your toddler drowning? How hard is it for your husband to just sit his ass down and watch your kid?! If you didn’t plan to wear your bathing suit, then clue in next time.

There are countless stories of kids drowning while their parents weren’t looking for a minute. And the island jumping? Why can’t he have the kid jump from a place where he won’t have a head injury if he falls?

I’d make him come to the next dr. appt and talk with the doctor about leaving the kid unattended. It’s not fair that he is adding unnecessary worry to your life. (thebellrang)

Sadly, people did share their own tragic stories of child drownings, and near misses in the hope that the woman could show her husband and get the message through to him.

I know someone who’s child drowned in the bathtub (between 2.5 and 3 yrs old.). Her spouse called upstairs for her to come get her phone. She went down to grab it and got distracted. It was awful.

Even if the risk is low, you also want to teach your son to respect all body of waters—big and small. Anytime an adult has to leave, he has to get out of the water. Teach him to help remind dad. (Though obviously dad should remind him too!) (mangos247)

Related article: SWIMSAFER Week is a Reminder To Us All What We Should Do Before The Summer Months

A minute? This almost happened to my kid in seconds. Wife and I were at the pool with our first (and then only) child, 2.5 years old, kiddo took off her floaties, was in the pool next to us on the steps, my wife and I turned to each other and looked DIRECTLY at our kid’s floaties on the side of the pool and even made a comment about the floaties – us both blanking on the fact that the floaties should have been on her at the time every second she was in the pool – and I then turned around and in those seconds my kid was in the water, mouth open, eyes wide looking at us but could not even make a sound since her mouth was halfway full of water. She hadn’t gone under, but was about to. DROWNING IS A SILENT EVENT. I was mortified that this even happened. I took her out of the water immediately and we of course panicked and took her to a local ER to have her lungs checked out and she was fine luckily. Never happened again. And this was one dumb mistake my wife and I made together while we were with our 2.5 y/o in the pool! (l5zrahrm)

A few people also shared the terrible, long-lasting effects that children who almost drown can suffer, such as permanent brain damage.

So, genuine horror story.

Reading your post, I immediately thought of a sweet girl I helped care for on a TCU (transitional care unit- a unit with kiddos that have tracheostomies and extra medical needs). She suffered a severe anoxic brain injury after a near drowning in a bathtub. Her grandmother stepped out of the bathroom to grab a fresh, warm towel out of the dryer but left the baby (1 year old at the time) in the tub. She was gone for less than a minute. That’s all it took for the baby to slip under the water and experience a near drowning. When I cared for her, she was 3 years old and still basically brain dead. As far as her function tests were concerned, she had irreparable brain damage and will likely always depend on a ventilator and feeding tube to keep her alive, as well as other medical equipment. It was one of the saddest situations I encountered while finishing my BSN program to become a nurse.

Drowning occurs so, so fast. Nothing is worth risking a child’s life and/or function. (Rolling_Avocado05)

My emerg[ency] team and I resuscitated a 4 year old who fell into a kiddie pool. Less than one foot of water. Kid was running around, tripped and fell, hurting their arm on the way in. Couldn’t push themself up or over. Freaked out and aspirated on the water.

Paramedics were able to get kiddos heart beating again and we continued care in emerg while we waiting for helicopter transfer. One week later, the kiddo went on to save other little kiddos through organ donation.

I’ll never forget that day. I’ll never forget the one shoe on the floor. I’ll never forget the mother’s screams. I’ll never forget the cool touch of my skin on that little lifeless body.

If my husband was adamant that our toddler was safe around a pool, I would question our future together. My child’s safety is more important than any persons ego. (BBrea101)

What advise would you give this mum?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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