That Time When OBB Got Super Serious…

This is the first in a series of posts about water safety. To read the post I wrote 1 1/2 years after the accident, click here. To learn more about water safety, check out this post.

I’ve literally spent the last few days agonizing about whether or not I should write this post for a number of reasons. I don’t want to make things weird between us. I feel like I’ve told this story over and over again and it feels weird to tell it again. I feel like I’m opening up a huge facet of my private life by sharing this story. I want to share information but not sound like an encyclopedia, and I want to make things personal but not have it sound like a bad Lifetime movie. So bear with me here.

I’ve gotta warn you guys that I can totally see how this can be a hard story to read, and that it might get under your skin. And I totally understand if you want to stop reading. But. I think what I have to share is important. I promise, because it’s something so intensely personal, I wouldn’t be sharing it if I didn’t think that it was important. I feel like if what I have to say can prevent even one accident like we had, it will be worth it.

I also ask that if you have something potentially unkind to say, to think really, really hard before you post it (and I subsequently delete it–just warning you now). I promise, there is nothing you can say to a parent in this situation that they haven’t already said to themselves.

Ready? Whew.

So as you guys know, Sara and I have been traveling a lot lately (and we just came back from our last trip! Woo-hoo!) We generally try to leave as late in the week as possible and come back on Sunday so we can be away from our families as little as possible, but it still takes its toll on everyone.

Last weekend, our event was in Salt Lake City and Sara had been planning on bringing her whole family. Through a series of kind of crazy and unusual circumstances (unexpected days off school, obscenely cheap airfare, unused frequent flier miles, a trip my dad and husband planned on taking together), we decided to bring our whole family as well. Sara’s and my kids completely adore each other and it was a chance for all of us to hang out for a few extra days and take a little mini vacation.

The night we got in, I was getting the kids ready for bed when Sara invited us to go swimming with them. I hadn’t brought my swimsuit and I didn’t really want to bring the baby in the water, but our kids were dying to see each other and hey, we were on a vacation. My kids have had a few summers’ worth of swimming lessons and can swim the length of the pool, so I wasn’t worried about playing around in the shallow end.

Here’s the thing. When it comes to water, bad things can happen quickly, and, unlike you see in TV and movies, those things are quiet. Here’s a fabulous article that talks about what drowning actually looks like and it’s something everyone should read and pass around to anyone who spends any time around water.

In our case, my oldest son was bouncing in an area where he could easily reach. And he did what anyone who’s spent a reasonable amount of time in a swimming pool has done–he landed where the pool started to slope. And it caught him off guard, and all it took was a gulp of water instead of air.

One of the reasons why I wanted to post this sooner rather than later was because KSL News in Salt Lake City did a story (you can read the whole thing here) on the teenage boy who pulled my son out of the water and I wanted to include it before the story and video are unavailable, largely because it spares me from personally having to share the harder details.

We’re not exactly sure how long he was underwater, but by piecing all the stories together and the fact that we were right there, it could have been anywhere from 1-3 minutes, but however long it was long enough to stop his heart and turn his skin blue. We really, truly could have lost him (and I thought we had).

After Greg pulled Clark out of the water, Sara’s husband gave him CPR and was able to revive him. He was rushed in an ambulance to Primary Children’s Medical Center where he spent a few hours in the ER and then was admitted to the PICU because he was having a hard time staying awake and his breathing was labored. Aside from the fact that hearing “ICU” is totally terrifying, it was really awful because I couldn’t stay with him (my husband did) because I had a nursing baby who wasnt allowed and there was no way for anyone else to feed him.

So I headed back to an empty hotel room quite literally in the middle of the night. And to say it sucked is the understatement of the century.

The next morning, he was much better and I was able to leave the baby with my husband and spend the morning with Clark in the ICU. They kept him long enough to get out of the danger zone and he left the hospital the day after the accident super tired with a cough, no appetite, and some antibiotics, but was otherwise completely fine (read: no brain damage).

In terms of facts and figures, I strongly encourage everyone to read the article I talked about earlier (and here it is again so you don’t have to go hunting for it). But I want to share, as a mom, some things to think about.

Kids aren’t as mature as we think they are. I think it’s easy to forget that bigger kids (like in the 6-10 range) are still pretty little kids, especially when you have younger kids in the mix. You’re used to relying on them to be mature and responsible, but in reality, they’re not as mature and responsible as we sometimes give them credit for. Additionally, Clark is my super-cautious rule-following kid; if I had to peg someone for a serious accident, it would have been my daughter.

Swim lessons (or floaties, or noodles, or life vests, or anything inflatable, or the presence of a lifeguard) are not a substitute for close supervision. I was there, keeping an eye on things, checking the pool, but I had a baby in my arms and friends I hadn’t seen in a long time and it had been a long day. Things literally happen in seconds and in the time it takes to run to the bathroom, have a serious phone conversation, deal with a fussy baby, listen to a child’s story, watch another kid jump off a diving board, or answer a text, it could be too late.

Supervision is not a substitute for excellent swimming skills. Like I said earlier, my kids have taken swimming lessons and Clark especially is a good little swimmer, but I think sometimes we forget that they don’t have the life experience necessary to not freak out if something catches them off guard. We’ve talked about the accident with him and told him he doesn’t need to get back in the pool tomorrow, or next week, or next month, but he does eventually need to continue with swim lessons and feeling comfortable in the pool.

Everyone should learn CPR. I don’t know what we would have done if Sara’s husband hadn’t been there that night. If I was hiring a babysitter and one of them was CPR-certified and the other one wasn’t, I’d most likely hire the CPR-certified babysitter, and yet I’ve been a mom for nearly 8 years and I haven’t had more than a brief overview of CPR a time or two as a teenager. I’m signing up for a CPR certification course ASAP so I never find myself in a situation where I couldn’t help someone who needed CPR. You can register for Red Cross classes here and even in my tiny community, there are a gazillion options available.

Don’t swim when you’re tired. My kids had been up late the night before in anticipation for our trip, then we’d been flying all day. It was an hour later for them than what the clock said and they were up way past their bedtime. Bad idea.

Don’t swim alone. That’s more for adults and teenagers, but even good, experienced swimmers can underestimate how close they are to a pool wall and hit their head or experience any number of other little accidents that normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but when you’re dealing with water, they become a big deal.

We all think it’s not going to happen to us. It’s so hard to strike a balance between being neurotic and thinking things aren’t going to happen to us; neither one is a good thing. Car accidents happen to bad drivers and water accidents happen to neglectful parents. Except that they don’t…they can happen to anyone. This accident has been a wake-up call for safety in all areas of my life, not to a point where I’m crazy, but it’s just reminded me that there are easy things I can do to make things safer: Water safety, locking doors, unplugging appliances, using car seats and boosters properly, not running the dryer when I’m not at home or while we’re sleeping, making sure our fire and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, and ignoring the fact that my text alert has beeped 6 times in 2 minutes while I’m driving. You don’t have to live in fear, but a little caution goes a long way.

Thankfully, within 48 hours, he was nearly his old little self. Here’s a picture of Clark (the one with Perry the Platypus) and Sara’s little boy Tyler two nights after it happened.

and all the OBB kiddos (minus Baby Will)…

As for us, we’re doing fine. Clark had a little freak-out the night he was discharged from the hospital, but he seems to be handling it really well. Generally, I’m good, although I’ve been busy. Sometimes in a quiet moment, those scary images and “what if” thoughts creep into my head, and sometimes they completely blindside me when I’m out and about and they kind of take my breath away. I’m just so very grateful to all the people who happened to be there that night–Eric (Sara’s husband), Greg (the awesome teenager), Nate (who helped Eric), Sara (who kept me from completely and totally losing it and who drove me to and from the hospital a few times in the middle of the night), the nice ladies who held Will, the paramedics, ER staff, and Jen the ICU nurse who Clark is completely enamored with.

For those of you little detectives that figured out what happened after I posted last week and have sent such sweet comments, emails, thoughts, and prayers, I appreciate them so much. Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for being such fabulous, supportive blog readers.Thank you for sticking with me through such a heavy blog post! I hope sharing our experiences will help keep your families and loved ones safe!


  1. Well no rude comments here. Even the best of moms can’t watch their children every second. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully it can help someone else. So happy all tuned out ok. 🙂

  2. Thanks for posting your story. Hugs to you and your family. I’m so happy things worked out the way they did. Clark is darling. 🙂

  3. Been through an eerily similar situation myself, and I understand completley what you are saying. Thanks for posting, and I’m glad it didn’t turn out worse. happy he is well.

  4. I’m so sorry you had to go through something so frightening. Nothing can be worse than watching your child suffer — or fearing for their life. This is a good reminder to all of us to keep our guard up. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m glad that everything worked out okay for you!

  5. Wow! I’m so sorry you all had to experience such trauma, but very grateful you’re all safe and sound! I’ll be praying peace for your mind! I can’t even imagine the scenarios and fears of a mom, but will soon (in 7 months) and I’m so thankful for the wonderful women who embrace and understand the fact that “We’re all human” and sometimes it does take a village. =) I’m encouraged by your bravery in sharing. Thanks!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I saw the story on the news and had no idea it was your son. That is so scary, but I’m very happy he is okay. I think most parents will have at least one of those terrifying experiences where you realize you really could have lost a precious child. We’ve had a few close calls with our kids that have kept me awake at nights feeling literally sick. It totally shakes you and it is so scary. ACCIDENTS are just that–ACCIDENTS–and no indicators of good or bad parenting. Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing something so close to your heart. We love you!

  7. Kate,
    I do not know you, but I just listened to you speak in Phoenix this weekend. I am a mom and a grandma. There is nothing as terrifying as experiencing something happen to one of your children that could have been tragic. PLEASE know that you are a good mom. I could feel it when you spoke. Know that everything you shared I am forwarding to my daughter. No judgement from me… I wish I could give you a hug. My prayers tonight will include you… your family… and Clark.

    P.S. I loved your presentation… love your blog… love your cookbooks. Molly~

  8. Kate,
    Thank you for sharing, you have been very brave. I am a reader from Spain, I have an almost 5 months baby and have already pass through the frightening experience of ICU just three days after his birth.
    Things will hopefully get back to normal in a few days and Clark will forget the whole situation.
    So happy you are all well!! Best wishes! Raquel

  9. Wow! What a horribly frightening experience for all of you! I’m so glad Clark is okay and you were so blessed to have the right people there at the right time. You were all watched over. And thank you for your courage and strength in telling your story. That’s also not an easy thing to do, but we are ask so glad you did. You shared some very valuable lessons we can all learn from. Mostly, thank you for being you. For sharing your wonderful culinary talents with us (for which my family is very grateful for!) and being so open, honest, vulnerable, funny and entertaining on your blog. This blog isn’t just about your delicious gods, but it’s about yours and Sarah’s lives and we as readers have come to love you and think I’d you as family.

  10. I saw the story of the teenager pulling a child from the pool on but of course had no idea that was your family. What a difficult, horrifying experience. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so very glad that your darling Clark is okay. Thank you for the reminders about knowing CPR and being careful with our kids (my oldest is 9.5 and I do expect more from him than I should sometimes). So happy all is well.

  11. That is so, so scary. You’re right; it can happen in a moment. Even when I don’t have any distractions, I still find myself not paying close attention to my kiddos while they’re swimming, but I will now. Thank you for sharing your story.

  12. All I can say is prayers and blessings for all of you. I think I understand why you had to write this post… you and Sara are public figures and share many parts of your life… and this was a major incident and to not share it would have been less than authentic. So, thank you for your courage in opening yourself up.
    You remind me of Proverbs 31: Strength and dignity are her clothing.

    Blessings, Catherine

    Rev. Catherine MacDonald
    United Memorial Church
    United Church of Canada
    Halifax, NS

    1. Another vote for Catherine’s comment! It is hard to talk about something really difficult, but the upside to something terrifying like this happening is that the rest of us can be a little be sober for a moment and become more watchful. Thank you for sharing, and phew! I was scared for a minute–so glad Clark is okay.

  13. I’m so sorry you had to go through that but so very grateful all is well! I’ve had a close call myself (different circumstances) and it makes a person realize how many things could happen and how even a few seconds can matter. Thanks for your tips – hug those kids extra close and thanks for being brave enough to share and help others.

  14. I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. What a blessing that your Clark is OK and that everything worked out well. Trials are there to refine us, but it stinks anyway, huh? Good luck and God bless.

  15. Kate, I can’t even imagine the horror you have been feeling! Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us to be more cautious–even now that my children are almost grown and they have to walk out of my house and make their own choices, I still worry! We can’t protect our children 100% of the time, but we can teach them and pray for them!

  16. So glad to see that your little boy is okay. What a frightening experience! Your tips at the end are definitely good reminders for all of us parents.

  17. So glad that everything is ok. I can’t imagine what that must have been like for all of you. Thank you for sharing…it may save a life!

  18. How awful when mom nightmares come true. My only child, a nearly 2 year old, burned his hand this week on the lawnmower and it totally freaked me out. I like what you said about striking the balance between being neurotic and saying it couldn’t happen to me. We would be such happier moms if we could find that balance!

  19. I had a drowning incident as a child in my own backyard pool. Although I was a decent swimmer, a friend of my parents threw me into the pool while I was wrapped in my towel. All the other adults were distracted and no one noticed me. With moments to spare I was able to get out of the towel.

    Rest assured I got over my fear of the pool after that. Your story is a great reminder of how fast things can happy. thank you for your bravery to share your story.

  20. Wow, what a frightening story you just shared. I am glad Clark and hopefully the rest of your family is recovering well. My daughter is a lifeguard and it’s hard keeping up with everyone and everything going on in a pool. Just a reminder though, the water wings that just fit on a child’s arms are not safe. A child can flip over and not flip back up. They need to be the wings that also have the vest. On that note, remember little people are great houdinis when it comes to getting out of said vests. My daughter saw it happen time after time even with the most cautious and watchful parents.

  21. First off let me say as I was reading this (at work no less) tears welled up in my eyes. I can only imagine how hard this was for your and your family. Thank you for taking the time to write this and remind all of this how precious our kids are and how things can change in one split second. Thank God your sweet boy Clark is OK. My youngest daughter has recently completed a few months of swim lessons. I appreciate the reminder that does not mean I don’t have to watch her like a hawk. : )

  22. Bless your heart, Kate. You are a WONDERFUL mother and I appreciate the reminder that bad things can happen fast. How many times are we tempted to do things that would be easier but are borderline dangerous. I’m so grateful you did post this because you could potentially help someone prevent a disaster. I’m so glad your little boy is ok.
    Hugs from NH!
    Wendi (Reynolds -as in John’s sister from Logan) Bohn

  23. Oh, mama. I can’t think of any words to say to express what I want to express. I cannot imagine how horrific that would have been. I can’t even begin to imagine. Actually, I can begin to imagine and I know it would surpass my wildest nightmare. I am so very sorry. I can understand that you would have some judgment for yourself, but I wanted to share something with you.

    A dear friend of mine lost her 15yo son this summer to drowning. He was an accomplished swimmer, a wonderful and mature young man, was swimming in broad daylight in an place he swam in all the time, was accompanied by friends (with his parents close-by as well, actually), close to the dock, not under the influence of any substances, without any physical abnormalities, etc. There was absolutely no understandable reason why he would have gotten into any trouble in the water where he was, let alone drowned, but he did.

    The truth is that, as you know, even when we do our very, very best as parents and do everything right, awful things can and still happen. It is a very vulnerable position we are in as parents and it is not very comforting to think about sometimes.

    Thank you for sharing your story in such a courageous manner. It is an excellent reminder of water-safety for that age where we start to relax a bit and, perhaps, are not as on guard as we need to be.


  24. As a former lifeguard and swim instructor, I agree 100% with your suggestions for parents watching children in and around water. I pulled more kids out of the pool than I care to think about where parents turned away for a split second. That is all that it takes.

  25. I live in the Phoenix area, where drownings are a (very unfortunate) part of every summer swimming season. We’re told over and over and over to watch our kids around water, but the fact is, it’s difficult to watch them EVERY SINGLE SECOND. Every mom has looked away for a SECOND and ended up with Sharpie on the living room wall, a box of cereal dumped on the floor, a kid lost in the crowd, etc. Don’t beat yourself up for being a “bad” parent. You’re not. Just thank God that your child is alive and well. We have a friend whose daughter wasn’t so lucky 🙁 Thanks for being brave enough to share your story — if your warning saves at least one child, it was worth the embarrassment of sharing it!

  26. Oh, a similar thing happened to us! We were staying in a hotel, getting the kids out the pool, when my youngest (3) just stepped back in on his own. My husband jumped in (fully clothed, down to his shoes) to get him out. I know, it can happen so fast. I still can’t stand to think about that day. So glad your little one is fine!

  27. Thank you for sharing your difficult story and for the huge reality check. You’ve put a face on (and brought it much closer to home) what could have been a potential awful situation. It could happen to anyone and at a moment’s notice.

  28. I’m so sorry for you, your son, and your whole family. Please don’t beat yourself up (it sounds like you are doing a fair bit of it from your post). We live in florida where water is everywhere. When multiple kids are in the pool or ocean, there is a whole lot of mommy look at me, our attention is diverted as we look at one child assuming the rest are fine. Most of the time it is, but I’ve seen what happened to your son, and it is so quiet, so no one knows. There is no thrashing that would draw attention like in the movies. It is not your fault. You are blessed by everyone that was there. Sending you a prayer of peace for those quiet reflective moments, and hope that despite this, you will still be able to find the joy of parenting…..not the fear.

  29. Oops, hit return before I meant to. The main point is exactly what you said – one minute is so fast! I was drying off and tending to the other kids, and never saw Spencer go in. And it’s so quiet. No splashing sounds. I so agree with you — water accidents happen in a split second, even to diligent parents.

  30. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m so sorry you and your family had to experience this and so glad your sweet boy is okay. I will definitely take your words to heart and share them with my family, as well.

  31. What a nightmare for your family. I am so, so glad everything turned out ok. It is a good reminder to all of us who are busy parents. Thank you for sharing your story, I know it wasn’t easy. Big hugs to your family.

  32. Oh, so so scary. I’m so grateful that your little guy is ok. Since becoming a mother, the scariest things in life are any harm or accident befalling on your children. It frightens me, a lot. So thank you for sharing, and giving the warning that anything really could happen in a situation that you feel is a safe one. It is always better to be on the side of caution. Scary. Glad your family is well.

  33. Thank you for sharing, Kate. All of us mothers need as much support, help, and reminders from each other as possible! I’m sure it wasn’t easy for you to share this when you and Clark are probably still terrified of pools, but sharing is probably going to save several lives. Thank you for being willing to put your story out there. God bless that wonderful Greg!!

  34. I’m so sorry this happened to you. We live in Arizona and know the dangers of water. I’ve always been the super paranoid mom about kids around water, to the point that when I take my kids swimming, I end up trying to keep eyes on everyone else’s kids. Thank you for sharing your story. I, too will be taking a CPR class very soon!

  35. Oh, bless you! I am so sorry such a terrifying event happened in your life. I have personally had a child (the same one) have a near-drowning experience three times, all in hotel pools. One time when he was around 2, he just fell in. The next time he was around 4 and he was RIGHT by my side, when all of a sudden he was suspended under the water and I had to drag him out. Then, when he was 8 he somehow propelled himself into the deep end and my other child shouted to alert me and I swam over and towed him out. So scary! (But not nearly as frightening as your situation, I know.) My point is, it can happen so easily, and especially in hotel pools because they often go deep abruptly. Please, don’t punish yourself! You are an amazing mom and these things just happen sometimes. I can tell you were being watched over by God! Thank you for sharing your important story with us.

  36. I’ve only been reading your blog for a few months, but I know that like many of your readers we all love you both and are happy to hear about the things going on in your lives (even the not so great things). I am so relieved that everything is okay. I’ll be a new mom in April and I truly appreciate the words of wisdom you shared. May those moments of fear and “what if” be replaced with peace and comfort that God loves his children and watches over all of us. Bless you both and your families.

  37. Who in the world would write a rude comment about this?!?

    Wow. Reading this gave me goosebumps… Not because of what happened to you (which totally sucks), but because of what happened on my end. I live in Salt Lake and when I heard this story on the new that night, it for some reason touched my desensitized heart and I immediately said a prayer for your family, specifically saying “and please bless the mother of this child to be comforted and not be filled with guilt and torment”… not knowing that the mother of this child was one of my favorite blog writers/cookbook authors. I really hope my prayer was somewhat answered and you haven’t been beating yourself up… Accidents happen, even to perfect people.

    I’m so glad you posted this. Maybe The Lord is using you as an instrument in His hands to prevent future incidents from occurring. I for one will be signing up to take a CPR class ASAP!

    God be with you and your cute family! Thank you for being such an amazing woman, for sharing your talents with the world, and making a difference! You are AMAZING!!!

  38. You are so brave to share your story in a public forum. I do believe you doing so will save some child’s life.

  39. Thank you for posting such a personal story. All the info you included will help us all be better prepared for emergencies. I am so glad that your sweet little boy is okay! You guys are such an inspiration to me and my sisters, we absolutely love your website and feel like we know you.

  40. Thank you for sharing such a painful story, and for being willing to reach out. I am CPR certified and I pray often I never have to use it. I am happy to hear Clark is okay. God bless you and your family, Kate. And Sara’s, too. Thank you for being such a blessing in all of our lives.

  41. Oh my goodness, I am so glad that everything turned out OK! There is no judgement here, as it really can happen to anyone & I am just thankful for your family that there was such great help around. Many hugs to everyone in your family & especially Clark.

  42. Thank you. We have a pool in our back yard and i understand you words (have repeated them myself many times) completely. Thank you for sharing this story. Hopefully it will resonate with people and help them-I know it has me. I have committed to a CPR class after reading of your experience last week, via Sara. I am a great swimmer, but then what? Thank you and best wishes to you all (especially Clark).

  43. Thank you for sharing. I can’t imagine what you must have gone through seeing your baby like that. You’re right, it’s easy to get comfortable with the level of vigilance that has worked so far but that level of vigilance, when something unexpected happens, could be not nearly enough vigilance to make it through. I’m so so glad that your son is okay.

  44. Even the MOST AMAZING moms, can’t be in 20 places at once. This is a VERY scary story and I am happy you have shared it. I wanted to add something to it though…
    I have a VERY close friend whose daughter had been swimming all day but kept getting water in her mouth over and over while swimming, which caused her daughter to cough up lots of water. My friend spent the entire night watching her childs chest rise and fall because she was a nurse and earlier in the week learned from a patient who came into her care, that you can drown after the swimming is over and the child lays flat to sleep. The water consumed or inhaled while swimming can settle when the child sleeps at night causing them to drown. It is not very common but I wanted to add a little more to your story. I was a trained lifeguard trainer, trained in CPR, trained to teach swim lessons and NOTHING can prepare you for the scary situations that come with swimming (or any situation, reallY) but like you said, you were right there. You did all the right things and I am glad you brought this up. Take the time to realize your kids are just that.. kids… and keep them close!
    Thank you for sharing and I am SUPER happy he is okay!
    Take time for yourself and heal from this.

  45. Kate, that’s so scary and I am so sorry that it happened to you. I had a similar situation when my son was small. I still can’t think about it without getting that sinking feeling in my stomach. We didn’t even end up in the ER, but I woke up in the middle of the night, in tears, for weeks afterwards. I’m praying that you will have peace of mind, and thanking God that Clark made it through just fine. Thank you for helping me to remember that awareness is key.

    God bless you and your sweet family.

  46. Literally sobbing, both at your experience and because you write the disclaimer so many times that you don’t need any rude comments. I know from experience that, sadly, the one rude comment will stick in your head more than the hundreds of supportive comments will. 🙁

    You’re a mommy first and a blogger second — and we all love you for it. Your priorities keep your grounded and help you to succeed in all you do. We love you and Sara, we love your families and their support of both of you, we love what you do. 🙂

  47. A message that bears repeating – not just in summer for sure. How absolutely terrifying. My mama’s heart goes out to you sitting in that hotel room without your boy. So glad he’s doing okay.

  48. It can happen to ANYONE, and like you said, it only takes a second. Thanks for sharing such a personal and difficult story. Everyone needs a reminder of how easily things can go wrong. Thank God your son is doing well! I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.

  49. Almost the exact thing happened to me as a child when I was about 6 years old. The fam was on vacation; mom was sitting by the pool watching me as I bopped around in the shallow end. Well, just like your son, I eventually got too close to the deep end slope, and down I went. Luckily, my mom must’ve had her eyes on me at the instant it happened, because before I knew it, she dove into the water and was pulling me out. I don’t think I even swallowed any water, and I’m pretty sure I went right back to swimming (albeit MUCH further away from where the slope was). I was very lucky that my mom was watching me so closely at that moment. It could have been much worse.

    This was a very good tale to tell, Kate.

  50. Thank u for posting this! I am so sorry this happened to your family, but thank u for being wise enough to share. I will be so much more careful.

  51. I saved my brother from drowning at one stage when we were swimming at a river. I don’t even know if Mum knows about it.
    I also almost drowned a couple of times at the beach where mum used to let us go all summer by ourselves.
    Try not to focus on the ‘what if’ and just know your son is meant to be around and you’re being watched over.
    Try not to let guilt get to you either, it’s the worst thing that can pull us mothers down.
    Easier said than done, I know but you can do it.
    Sorry you had to go through it.

  52. Wow… so scary. Thank you for sharing your story… and for the reminder to be diligent. So glad your baby boy is just fine now.

  53. My heart also goes out to you. Like you said something you never would have imagined but something we all need to be mindful of with swimming. Glad you boy is ok!

  54. You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your story-written beautifully. So glad you were able to go ahead and come to Phoenix. We enjoyed the conference VERY much. Our grandkids love the dinousar shaped chicken nuggets..heehee

  55. As a kid who had some near death experiences while under supervision of AMAZING parents, I completely understand and am so grateful that your little family is okay! You are awesome and my heart goes out to you guys.

  56. I learned a few months ago when my almost 18 mo old, at the time, fell from our 13 ft. outdoor balcony to the cement slab below, not to judge any mother for terrible accidents. Nothing was more traumatic in all my life. I thought he was dead. The. Worst. Feeling. In. The. World. He must have had an angel helping him as he fell because he only suffered a broken arm. Not a bump or bruise on his head or anywhere else. You and your family have experienced the same miracle and I am so grateful for that. We are our own worse enemy…..I KNEW it was my fault. Nothing CPS could say was any worse than what I had already thought and said to my self. But in the end it was an accident and we learned what to never do again. Just as you did. Forgive yourself and forever remember your miracle. That is what I am working on to this day. And remember as my 10 year son told me, “Heavenly Father just isn’t done with him yet, Mom.” Prayers of peace being sent your way.

  57. What a miracle! So sweet to see him at the end of the post. Thanks for sharing, helpful reminder to me and many others.

  58. Even though I already knew the whole story, reading it here made the tears roll off my cheeks, big time. I’m so grateful for the miracles that came together so that Clark could survive this horrific ordeal. You are loved!

  59. I’m glad you’re all okay. I hope no one says anything hurtful. You are already incredible in my book with all that you get done. Even with cereal for dinner! My life is better and happier because of all you share with us from dinner to kid projects to desserts to tears. I appreciate you so much.

  60. I am so very glad that you were blessed. Thanks for all you do for those around you. This is one heart you have touched with your honesty and integrity. Thanks for sharing your life. You have a wonderful family!!!

  61. Oh Kate! That is every mother’s worst nightmare! Thank you for sharing–we have often assumed that our oldest could be responsible in the pool for her siblings, but I just emailed your story to my husband and said we can’t be doing that anymore! It only takes a second! My heart goes out to you and I am so glad your sweet boy is alright!!

  62. Just want to say that all your kids are super cute! Also, one of my daughters was recued by the lifeguard 2 different times in one year. Both times I had left to change my baby and asked a friend to keep an eye on her (which they did; the lifeguard was just faster). She never had problems except when I left her, but I definitely know the guilt you put yourself through as a mom! So sorry this happened to you. I do love the opportunity to see pictures of your cute kids though!

  63. I’m so very glad your little boy is okay. What a scary thing, for all involved.

    My son had a very different, but nonetheless life-threatening experience a couple of years ago, with thankfully a happy ending. I found that the aftermath of the scary events could crop up in unusual ways. Kids process things differently than we do, and it may be helpful to have someone you or he could talk to about it. Also, I too was filled with “what-ifs” afterward, and found that the only way I could push those aside was to count all the blessings that led to a good outcome–the things that aligned in just the perfect way so that he was ultimately okay.

    Blessings to you and your family.

  64. I so glad your little peanut, Clark, is ok! And what a wonderful news clip that was of the young man who saved him! Your words of being prepared and thinking things through are so important; for everyone, but especially those with little kids. Thank you for posting this!

  65. What an incredible story. I am amazed that everyone was where they were needed. You are so blessed and watched over. It is so comforting to know that Heavenly Father watches out for all of us, especially your little boy Clark. I’m so glad he is well, and thanks for helping me realize I have room for improvement in the safety department!

  66. I, too, had an incident this weekend where I put my two year old down for a nap and heard him screaming a few minutes later. He had swallowed a thumb tack which had been holding a map up above his bed. He kept grabbing his throat and we were scared that the tack was lodged somewhere. We had to take him to the ER. He is fine and that incident is not even on the same scale with yours, but it’s scary how quickly unexpected things can happen. We just do the best we can to keep our kids safe, but we can’t anticipate everything.

  67. I know it was hard to write, but this is such a great post. It’s so important for all of us to be reminded that we need to be careful and be prepared and that bad things can happen so quickly.

    My heart aches for you having to go back to an empty hotel room in the middle of the night. My daughter was in the PICU a few years ago and one of the hardest things was seeing her empty crib on the nights my family made me go home for a good night’s rest. I hope that by the time you got to the hotel you were sure he was going to be fine and there was some measure of comfort in that. I’m so happy for you that the right people were there to help him (and you!) and that he is ok.

  68. I completely understand! I almost lost my little boy when he opened the front door one morning and started walking down the street before I woke up. I now have a much more childproofed house and I am trying not to become neurotic. Baby #3 is due soon and I’ve been wondering how I’m going to sufficiently watch 3 kids under 4 in the pool next summer in this Texas heat or if I’ll just go stir crazy in my apartment. Thank you for sharing!

  69. My heart and prayers go out to you! What a scary experience. I had a similar thing happen when I was in high school and babysitting two little girls while their parents were out of town. I was sitting at the edge of the pool watching, and saw one of the little girls go under. I jumped in and got her out quickly, but she did come up sputtering and coughing. I had a lot of adults nearby tell me awful things about how negligent I was. It left me feeling sick for a long time afterward. Thanks for sharing your story and caution to all parents (and babysitters!).

    1. I don’t understand how your saving her was negligent–what awful things to have been told! They should have been commending you for your vigilance!!

  70. Kate- You are brave and strong and really wise to share this information. My heart completely goes out to you for having faced such a terrifying situation and I am so deeply grateful that the outcome was okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are an amazing mamma who seems to balance your work and family life brilliantly. Sending lots of lovely peaceful thoughts to you. Deep breath. You’re all going to heal!

  71. Thank you so much for sharing this, even though it was hard. This information saves lives. I have a 6 year old who sounds like your son, she never ever breaks the rules and she is an excellent swimmer, but it really struck me when you said,”they don’t have the life experience necessary to not freak out if something catches them off guard.” That is so true. No matter how good of swimmers they may be, they are not adults. Thank you so much for the reminder, I know I will be more vigilant now.

  72. Thank you for your post. It must have been awful to have to write, but is such an excellent reminder for all of us. Especially me, since I am always right next to my son (who has a seizure disorder) and not really by my daughter…this sort of thing could have happened to any child and any parent, so please don’t beat yourself up about it. Let it go knowing that your experience is helping all of your readers be more aware. And for those of you who won’t go to the hassle of taking a formal CPR class, at least learn how to do chest compressions to the BeeGee’s Stayin’ Alive song! Those are more important than worrying about how to get them oxygen right away.

  73. That sounds unbelievably terrifying, and I’m so glad Clark is okay. My niece actually choked on Saturday with three adults around her (she’s okay; my sister reacted amazingly quickly and calmly), so I know all too well that these things can happen to anyone at anytime. Thank you for sharing this information, from a non-mom.

  74. if i was near you, i would give you a big hug. what a terrifying experience. i am so relieved your son is okay. !!!! if anyone sends harsh words your way – screw them. you are so obviously a wonderful wife/mom/sister/friend. take care and God bless you and your sweet family. 🙂

  75. Thank you for sharing, Kate. I live in Utah and was touched last week when I heard the story of the high school hero. But now that I realize I “know” the family it happened to, it becomes so much more real and personal. Thank you for the reminder that we all need to be diligent because accidents really can happen to any of us. May you feel lots of love and comfort come your way!

  76. I’m SOOO very happy that this story has a happy ending! Thanks for the wake up call…I know I could be more cautious with my boy and thanks to your post I will. I can’t imagine how scary that was for you and Clark. My thoughts are with you guys!

  77. oh mercy i’m crying. so glad he’s ok and thankful for that observant teenager who helped. thank you for sharing your story. as a result, i know i will be a lot more cautious with my kindergartener when we go to the beach in a few weeks.

  78. Thanks for sharing. Accidents can happen to anyone. What a blessing for your family that everything turned out ok. I also feel like I need to learn CPR because I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I couldn’t help because I didn’t have the knowledge. Thanks for some incentive to look into it and get registered for a class.

  79. How absolutely terrifying! I’m so very sorry that you had to go through that. And your poor little guy too! I’m all choked up reading this. Just losing sight of one of my children in the store makes my heart stop. I can’t imagine the agony you felt. But thank you for sharing the experience. You may have saved another child by reminding us of something so important that we often think could never happen to us.

  80. This was a tearjerker for me! I’m so glad he is ok and hope there is nothing residual – rather it be respiratory or fear of water!
    Woo hoo for the brave teenager who stepped it up and did a miraculous deed! All the best to each of you!

  81. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! All of us moms need a reminder of how dangerous water is ALL of the time. That article on what drowning really looks like is so informative – I didn’t really know what drowning is like in real life. I think it’s so important for all of us to be CPR certified too. I’m so glad your son is okay, and that you have a wonderful outlet to share your experience!

  82. How scary! I can’t imagine anyone would be critical of you in this situation. Accidents honestly happen. So glad he is okay!

  83. Thank you for sharing your story and sharing that article. I think most people don’t understand how QUIET drowning is. My husband and I learned this when we used to take our toddler daughter swimming in our (unheated) hot tub. We’d be sitting there in the water with her and she’d be splashing and bouncing around on our laps. Even with us right there, there were a couple times when she’d slip off a lap and go under the water and I vividly remember thinking “oh my god, it happens so quietly.” We could grab her immediately, of course, but it gave me nightmares about how easily a kid could slip out of the house and drown in the space of a few minutes and there would be no warning. Still gives me chills thinking about it!

    I’m so glad your son is okay! It’s an important reminder for us all to be more diligent because this can surely happen to anyone. HUGS!

  84. Kate, so sorry that you had to go through this. I was in PHX for your book signing and TOFW, and I think you are a great Mom, and you really inspired me.

  85. So grateful your little guy is safe. I love those tender mercies from caring and skilled people.

    Thank you for sharing your miracle with us and your helpful tips!

  86. That is one of my worst nightmares!! I’m so glad he is doing fine. Thank goodness for all those people around to help! It’s scary how fast that can happen! Thank you so much for the warnings and the articles!!

  87. I have house bumps and tears. Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad Clark is okay. And don’t be to hard on yourself.

    1. Wow, bad grammar and spelling on my part! I’m not sure what house bumps are, but I meant goose bumps and too not to! Hopefully you get the point.

  88. I don’t know if it’s pg hormones or what, but this has me in tears. I’m so glad your little boy is ok! Be safe, but don’t beat yourself up over it…forgive yourself. Big hugs!

  89. So sorry you had this experience, it breaks my heart! It’s truly a reminder that these things can happen to anyone and we can never be too cautious! I hope you feel comforted and remember that angels were watching over your son, both earthly and Heavenly and it was not his time to go. Don’t rehash that what ifs’… you are a great mom!

  90. I have 3 times in my short 5 years of being a mom where I KNOW Heavenly Father directly saved the life of one of my children. Despite the horribleness of those situations, I take comfort in the fact that my Father is as much, though probably more, invested in my children’s lives as I am. Glad he is okay.

  91. WOW. Thank goodness for the special prompting that Greg received, so that he was there to keep your Clark safe! So, so grateful for happy endings. Virtual hugs sent your way!

  92. I’m so sorry you had to experience this but happy to hear it ended well. God works in mysterious ways and maybe by posting this your horror might save someone down the road.

  93. Thanks for sharing this story, it must have been really difficult to write that post. Don’t be hard on yourself, you are a great and loving mother. I’m a long time reader/fan of OBB and I can tell how much family means to you. I’m so glad your son is ok. I agree, everyone should be certified in CPR. It’s free.

  94. Thank you for sharing your difficult story…it made me heartsick for you! I read the article on drowning and promptly texted my daughters to not miss your blog today…I don’t think that they ever miss it anyway. I am so glad yad had such a happy ending!

  95. Thank you for sharing and for the reminder of the things we can do to protect our family. I believe most mothers have had an experience similar to this. When you have more than one child it is not possible to keep your eyes and ears on each one the whole time. Thank goodness for a smart, caring teenager that could be the eyes and ears that day. I pray for you to have peace and that clark will be able to get back in the water without too much fear.

  96. I am so sorry this happened to you!! It happened to my daughter in our backyard pool last year and was the worst experience of my life. I’m shaking just reading your story because it is so scary. I thought I lost my little one too! I’m so glad your little guy is okay! There can never be too many reminders because it happens so fast – even to the best, most cautious parents!

  97. My heart goes out to you! I had a similar experience with my 4 year old this summer, and I know just what you mean about thinking about the “what if’s”. It’s so heart-breaking to have to live it over and over again. So glad that your son had angels watching over him that day, I know my son did this summer.

  98. To be honest, I wasn’t going to read the link you provided because how can you not tell your kid is drowning? So glad I read it! I don’t think I would have recognized drowning until it was too late. Thank you for sharing, it must be very difficult but hopefully you’ve helped save other kids by showing parents just how serious this is. Thank you, and glad that everything turned out alright.

  99. Contrary to what you would think, kids don’t make a sound when they fall in the water. Even if they don’t hit their head and are fully conscious they don’t splash around and call attention to themselves. They freeze up and sink. It happens all the time when you back is turned for only a second. Glad to hear he is OK.

  100. Thank you for that reminder. It is always good to be reminded that accidents can happen in a split second. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. My baby was just in the hospital, and it is a terrifying experience.

  101. This is my first time on OBB, and oh my word!! I am SOOO sorry about your son! That sounds terrifying to say the least!! I have two brothers that have nearly drown. One of them does have brain damage, but I am so happy for the miracle that your son is alright. Thank you for the good reminder!! I have three little boys and I start getting WAY too comfortable with their swimming skills, when they are still only 6 and 4. Not good. Thank you and God bless.

  102. Oh Kate, my heart goes out to you. I had a choking incident with my then nearly 18 month old daughter where it took me about 30 seconds to get her breathing again (30 seconds that seemed like an hour). I jokingly tell others that I thought I was going to need Xanax for almost 6 months after but I remember how the what ifs and memories of the event just sneak up on you and are almost overwhelming. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  103. I’m SO glad that your little one is better! Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to hear some good advice before it happens to us. That’s a great article about drowning, I recently read it myself and was very surprised by what I learned. You are a fantastic mom, crap like this happens to everyone. I hope you can let the memories go soon and feel calm. Such a horrible incident to live through.

  104. So sorry you had to go through this, but what a blessing that everything turned out okay for you all. Thanks for sharing because this is a lesson we can all be reminded of.

  105. My heart aches for what you have had to go through. I am so glad to hear that he is doing well! You will be in our prayers. Just reading this brings me back to a situation with my dad almost ten years ago. It’s amazing how hearing something can bring every emotion so vividly back to the surface.

    Just had to share in the way of advice for others who might be reading, please yield quickly to emergency response vehicles. Don’t wait to pull over or try to beat them out making a turn. Every patient is important and every second counts when your loved one is in the back of an ambulance. Yielding quickly so the ambulance doesn’t have to slow down can make the difference between life or death.

  106. Such a strong woman and mother you are for sharing this story. I am relieved to hear he survived, however, and I am glad that as a family you all took something from this and are sharing the story to make others aware. In these circumstances, that is the best thing you can do not only to help others, but to help yourself move past the experience and ensure it never happens again. Thank you for sharing, I do not have children of my own yet, but when I do I will remember stories such as these to remember to constantly keep an eye on them!

  107. As Parents we have tons to beat ourselves up about on a daily basis it seems doesn’t it? But so few are the times we pat ourselves on the backs for just being able to get our kids semi grown up! As the mother of a 16 yr old I have lost him on beach with literally 100,000 people on it when he was 3 yrs old for 55 of the longest minutes of my life, saw him slip into the deep end of a friends pool while standing two feet from him and warning him to stop. He still went under for a second and sucked in pool water and doesn’t swim to this day. We are working on it though! And, just recently had a near accident while driving to school at 55 mph(he has his Permit and we are building up the 100+ hours needed for a licence) and I was in the passenger seat and it was sooo not his fault,so it happens to all of us! thank you for sharing Sara and keeping it real. Hang in there and know that everyone who was there was SUPPOSED TO BE THERE and that the outcome was also SUPPOSED to be.

  108. I am so relieved he is ok. I saw another story like this recently. The mom had looked down to post pictures of her kids swimming and her little guy, 5, got out of his floaty. We often forget how dangerous water can be or how quick it can happen. We are all guilty of not being super vigilant at some point, myself included. Again I am so happy he is ok.

  109. I am so glad that things worked out in the end… I know how scared you must have been. I did learn cpr when I was working for an elderly gentleman with a heart issue but never had to use it on him….I did, however, end up using it on both my son and my father….I highly recommend that Everyone learn this very valuable skill. I was also an EMT for six years (this was after all those scares as a civilian) and that was the one thing I used more than any other. Again, I am happy that he is ok and that you had HEROES available to make sure of that!!!!!!

    thank you for having the courage to share this story…it WILL make a positive impact on many people, whether they let you know or not

  110. Thanks for this post! I am so afraid of this and it is a good reminder to not trust that your kids will be fine in the water just because they have learned to swim or they are older. I don’t dare let anyone else take my kids swimming because things just happen so fast. It is so easy to get distracted with the very things you mentioned you were distracted with. I know that would be an issue for me. I am so glad everything is okay! This post gave me chills and teary eyes. Thank heavens for people who follow the Spirit. And for it to be a teenage boy who could have been doing something else with his friends is truly amazing.

  111. Oh, I’m so sorry you and your family had that experience! How frightening! My heart hurt reading it. YOU are a GOOD mom and it shows.

  112. I can’t even imagine going through that and having to worry about rude comments from others. Especially when it could happen to anyone; being completely vigilant does not protect anyone from accidents. When I think about possible mean comments, I hurt because I know that they have simply not lived life enough to know that things really can happen to anyone. So, please, if you get any mean comments, don’t take them to heart. Be sad for them to know that at some point, their eyes will be opened as well.

    My parents taught us the Heimlich as young kids. I never thought I would actually have to use it…. but my brother has needed to use it once, and I have had to use it on two different occasions with two of my toddlers. Your comment of kids not being experienced enough to not freak out resonated with me. I was close to 30 when I had to use the Heimlich on my kids. I was so glad to know it, but I thought that it would work the first time. I had no idea that it can take several attempts to finally dislodge something caught in the throat. Those moments I doubted myself; was I doing it wrong? Was it not going to work? Do I stop the movements for a second to grab the phone to call 911? Do I keep going and hope it will finally work? I start to shake a little now just thinking of it, and it’s been a decade. Even adults have freak outs where they can’t think clearly! Luckily, after 7-8 attempts, it worked and my kids were fine, but it felt like an eternity. After needing to use the Heimlich, I remember thinking that I really should learn CPR, too. I did learn it, but it was so long ago, that I don’t remember it well enough to feel comfortable doing it. Thank you for the reminder that another course would be good!

    I have been following your blog for quite some time now. Thank you for sharing your recipes and your life. When I clicked on your link to read the story, I was surprised to realize that I am lucky enough to know Greg, too. You are a good Mom, doing your best, and from what Greg said in the article, you were right there, seconds after him. Heavenly Father was watching over you and your family. Choose to feel the love and caring from others and not any possible criticisms.

  113. Thank you for sharing this story! I have so many of those moments when I’m distracted by all the little things (chatting with friends, checking my email, thinking about my to-do list) and I’m not giving my full attention to my children when they’re in potentially dangerous situations. Thank you for the reminder to stay more present. I’m so glad your little boy is okay! Hope your family continues to do well.

  114. I live in Salt Lake City and I remember hearing about this when they first reported the story. I am so glad things worked out the way they did and so glad that your little one is okay.

  115. My heart goes out to you. And this isn’t your fault! Last year my 4yr old daughter went under the water AT swimming lessons, with the instructor AND a lifeguard just feet away! I was sitting about 10 feet away, separated by a section of the pool, and as a former lifeguard and swimming instructor I was watching her like a hawk, but it STILL happened! One of the scariest moments of my life! It happens in an instant. I’m so grateful you’re willing to share your story, because it is so important to get the word out that drowning is SILENT – you will not hear anything. A kid is fine one second, and then next, they are under the water – no sounds, no yells for help, no splashing. And every parent should know CPR if possible. This is a reminder for me that I need to get my CPR certification back up-to-date and need to drag my husband to class with me so he can get certified. I’m so glad that Clark is okay!

  116. I am so sorry you had to endure such a scary situation! However, I’m so happy that all is well now. Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to know CPR and make sure that caregivers know CPR too. God bless your dear family!

  117. Thank you for sharing this, although I’m sure it was very, very difficult. Thank God your son is safe and the people that needed to be there were able to do what was necessary. I read the article concerning the signs of drowning, and found the information to be invaluable as my family spends a lot of time around water. Thank you for sharing your family’s story and potentially saving numerous lives in the process.

  118. Thank you so much for posting that. I know it must have been difficult to write, let alone go through, but I appreciate you raising awareness to the issue. I babysit five kids through the summer, and you never know what could happen around a pool. The article was very helpful, so thanks again.

  119. Thank you for sharing this difficult story. I often expect my older children to act a little more mature than I should, thanks for the wake up call and my CPR card expired way too many years ago, I need to get that up to date as well.

  120. Big ((HUGS)) Momma. Thank you for sharing. I think all parents have had scary experiences and will understand and support you. Thank God all is well!

  121. Wow, thanks for raising our awareness. Needs to happen regularly. I’m sorry for this heart-stopping moment(s) in your life, and so glad that cute boy is ok.

  122. !!! I am SO glad that story had a ‘happy ending’ and you didn’t lose your son. I also hope that you don’t allow yourself to wallow in guilt about what DID happen. You are absolutely right, it could happen to anybody. So don’t beat yourself up. And thanks for the warning – I know I’ll be more careful.

  123. Kate, I am so glad to hear that your sweet boy is okay. Praise the Lord for quick action and miraculously placed people! Thank you for sharing your story. Anyone who criticizes you or blames you for this simply has no clue how fast water accidents can happen. As a swim lesson teacher and water safety instructor for 7 years, trust me, I know – and Clark’s accident was in no way your fault. And as far of the scary moments where you relive the “what ifs”, just remember that that is all they will ever be. Things went the way they did because that’s the way He planned it. You may not have been the one to pull him from the water or give him CPR, but you are his mom, and you will be the one that helps him heal and grow from this. Again, I am so sorry your son had to live thought this terrifying ordeal, but I am so relieved he is okay!!

  124. There’s nothing I can really add to what has been said, but I feel compelled to say that I wept for your near loss. Scary and frightening don’t even begin to cover what it must have been like for you. Accidents happen. You’re a good mom. I’m so glad he’s okay!

  125. So glad that Clark is fine and also thankful that you posted this…it gives us all a chance to understand that water accidents are common. When my daughter was just a toddler, I was sitting right next to her dangling my legs in the water at the public baby pool. I was reading a book while she stood right next to me playing in the water. I looked up after each sentence to check on her. In once sentence she managed to slide under the water without one sound. She was laying on her back looking up. It was one of the most frightening moments of my life. She was under just seconds and came up coughing and crying, but I never did anything like that again. I would never have believed that something like that could happen, but it can happen even in a bathtub, I am sure of it.

    Knowing that parents of infants and toddlers may be reading this I want to caution everyone to be very careful about camera and hearing aid batteries that can be picked up off the floor and swallowed. I have read about one near death because of a swallowed camera battery and want to get the word out.

  126. What a Thanksgiving you’ll have this year! Praise God for His provision and watchcare over your family. I’m so glad everything turned out okay. How scary…it just makes my heart race. I know the feeling of being outnumbered by your children at the pool park etc…there’s absolutely no way to watch them all at once. My heart hurts to think you’d get a rude comment about this post. Thank you for sharing and the public service announcement and reminder for us all.

  127. Thank you for sharing such a painful experience. I am so thankful your son is all right. As I watched the news story, I heard a couple of times that some “unknown reason” kept that teen from the dance and at the pool – that reason was God Almighty. What a special plan He must have for Clark! Thanks again for sharing – I know I’ll give my sweeties an extra hug tonight after reading this.

  128. Thank heavens he is ok. Great advice every mom should hear! My kids swim constantly and this really made me think.

  129. Dear, sweet Kate,

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Thank heavens that your precious little one is okay, and thank you for sharing such a tragic story. It took a lot of guts to do that, especially when the situation is still so raw. Hug your little ones, tell your husband to hug you, and know that those of us in the ether who look forward to your posts each week are very grateful that you came through this horrific experience so successfully. God bless you!

  130. I am writing this with tears streaming down my face. It is obvious to anyone that reads your column that you are an excellent mother. Every single parent has had a moment when they were looking the other way and their child could or did suffer a freak mishap. It seems as though you are beating yourself up a bit about this and you absolutely should not. You and your family have suffered through a harrowing, gut wrenching experience but Clark went through that surrounded by people who love and care about him which is a priceless gift.
    One of the best tips that I learned in my CPR course is that you pump the chest to the rhythm of the BeeGees song “Staying Alive”. I don’t know the words other than “staying alive, staying alive, uh uh uu uh, stayin’ alive!” but it’s a rhythm that gets stuck in your head and that you would easily remember in an emergency situation.

  131. Glad he is ok. Glad everyone was where they were supose to be……
    It only takes one second for things to go in the other direction….

  132. thank you so much for sharing your story! hopefully you’ve prevented many heartaches and future terrible accidents from happening by sharing. We as parents need reminders like this ALL OF THE TIME 🙂 It is MORE than appropriate to post!

  133. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Glad everything is ok though. It’s crazy how fast scary things can happen. Thank goodness Heavenly Father was watching over your little boy.
    And thank you for the link to the story. I never really thought about the fact that most drowning victims won’t look like the ones we see on tv. I also appreciate the CPR reminder. I was certified when I was in college…5 years ago…and I definitely don’t remember most of what I learned.

  134. Holy smokes. Very hard to read, and so hoping the end would be good, which fortunately it was. On a lighter note, what a cute pack of kids! Glad they’re all safe and sound.

  135. Sorry you had to go through that. The same thing happened to my sister two summers ago. They were a family of swimmers, all the kids were very experienced in the water. The dad turned his back for 2 seconds, turned back around and couldn’t find his son. They pulled him off the bottom of the pool, blue and not breathing. Thankfully his story ended as yours did, with no long term damage. I think it’s awesome that you told your story.

    One more hint for you: don’t wait to take your kiddo back to the pool… the longer you wait the more afraid they are after an experience like this. My niece’s swim coach called the family and said he wanted to immediately give some private lessons to my nephew so that he wouldn’t develop any crazy fears that could impact him for a lifetime.

  136. I think the fear factor of everyday things and small accidents is always in the back of every mother’s head and you are right, it could happen to anyone. I am glad that your story has a happy ending and you were surrounded by all the right people at the right time. Give Clark a squeeze from all of your readers! Thanks for sharing and linking to the article.

  137. What a scary thing to have happen and Greg sounds like a wonderful young man. So glad little Clark is doing well.

  138. Thoughts and prayers to you, your son and family. What a scary ordeal. Thank you for sharing…as difficult as I am sure it was for you to put words down on this…you most definitely have saved another life as a result.

  139. Thank God your son was okay, and thank God for the teenager and for Sarah’s husband knowing CPR. My daughter is five and is not yet a strong swimmer, and this really resonates with me. I am going to look into a CPR class.

    Glad everything turned out okay. I can’t imagine a tragedy greater than losing a child.

  140. Thank you thank you thank you. I think of a few of my kids as being good swimmers, but your story has made me realize that they might be excellent swimmers, but they are still kids. This past summer my youngest (age 4, not a swimmer), who is a very cautious kid who is pretty scared of the water, just jumped in a pool we were arriving at because the rest of the crowd was. In the hustle and bustle of arriving I wasn’t watching because I never would have expected him to do it. I turned back to the pool and saw him sputtering, reaching for the side. Lesson learned for this mama. I will keep a close eye on ALL them at the pool.

  141. It’s horrible but it happens. I was in a hot tub with the kids and talking to my sister. My littlest (2yrs) had been very needy that day and while we were in the hot tub (it was pool temperature) she kept jumping in my lap and whining. I set her to stand next to me. I wasn’t looking at her, but we were touching bodies so I felt her moving next to me, kicking, patting my shoulder….I felt like I was watching over her. The next thing I know my other child shouts: Rachel is drowning! She was RIGHT NEXT TO ME–TOUCHING ME! But what I had mistaken for jumping around was actually head under the water flailing around. We lifted her up and she was absolutely fine, but it brought home that water is serious and it’s harder than I thought to keep an eye on things. I’m sorry you had to go through it and I know how guilty you must feel. A big hug to you and your boy!

  142. I hope no one has sent you any mean messages! This could have happened to any one of us. Thank you for sharing and the reminder. We also had a scary experience last week with my son and those “what if’s” are always in the back of my mind. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving season!

  143. How scary! I’m so glad your son is okay and so sorry you had to go through such a terrifying experience. I was a lifeguard for many years and it’s crazy how quickly things can get bad… So great to hear there were people there to help and such a good reminder how careful we need to be. Thanks for sharing.

  144. I’m so sorry you had to go through this an I’m so grateful it turned out as good as it did. I hope you don’t get rude comments. My sister’s friend (a very attentive mother) recently lost her son from complications from a near drowning. I was infuriated with the extremely cruel comments people left on the news article (why do they even have the option for people to post comments on things like that?). Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and to anyone. How scary!

  145. Thank you.. truly thank you for posting this and reminding every one of us that you can never be too careful. I am sitting here in tears because I had a moment this past summer when my 3 year old went under and panicked and thank the Lord, I was actually standing right next to him and was able to jump in for him before he even swallowed enough water to go unconscious… but 5 minutes before that, I wasn’t standing right there. I was distracted… and it hit me so hard how quickly that could have gone so badly. It absolutely does happen to good parents… and sometimes even if you do everything by the book, things can still happen… I’m so sorry you had to experience such a dreadful experience but praise God it has a happy ending and again, thank you for allowing all of us to learn from it.

  146. Wow, Kate, I saw that story on KSL when it first came out and I said a little prayer thanking God for the presence and presence of mind of the young man who pulled the boy from the pool. I am so glad things worked out in the best possible way.

    Does anyone know how to get CPR certified less expensively than through the Red Cross classes? I used to be certified, and it bugs me now that I am not, but I just can’t afford the class fees.

    1. I went to a local fire department with a youth group for a church activity and the EMT’s and Medics taught us all for free. You might be able to try that route.

  147. I’m sitting here, teary-eyed, while reading your experience. We never know what’s around the corner, and this could happen to ANY ONE! I pray you’re receiving nothing but love from your blog-readers, and shame on those who would judge you. I believe we will be judged as we judge! I’m so grateful that you had and continue to have such an awesome support system of friends and family, and those strangers who happened to be around the evening this happened. God is so gracious and generous to us…celebrate Thanksgiving this year with extra gusto!

  148. I was in the middle of reading this and got all teary when the FEDEX guy came to my door HA! I can’t believe that anyone would actually leave negative or mean comments here. This could happen to ANYBODY! It happened to my son a few years ago when he was five and it still haunts me. I am so glad your little boy is ok!

  149. hugs to you and your family. I read that story on KSL when it came out. Didn’t piece together who it was. Glad all is well.

  150. I know this is one comment of a million, but I had no idea this happened to you. I’m so glad your little boy is ok. And from a mom who has spent significant time in the PICU at Primary’s, my heart goes out to you. All someone has to say is “PICU” and I am instantly transported back. You’re a good mom, I’m glad you had angels watching over you.

  151. thank you for sharing your story! No rude comments or judgements here – it can happen to any of us and more times than not, I’ve realized that life changes in a matter of seconds. So happy that yours had a happy ending!

  152. I am very glad you shared your story. It’s a incredibly helpful reminder to all parents and caregivers. Thank God for the boy who helped, CPR being remembered and administered in time, and excellent medical care. Hug him a little tighter each day. I know I will hug my two that way in honor of your family. Take care!

  153. Great reminders all around…even for Grandmothers, like me. Glad all is well. Kudos to Greg for listening to the Spirit.

  154. God Bless you and your idle thoughts as I’m sure this will consume them for quite some time. You are a WONDERFUL mother and thank you for sharing your story, a story that could happen to anyone.

  155. I just bawled reading this and then bawled some more watching the video. I am so glad your son is okay. I have always been really paranoid about kids and water. I have a cousin who was a really strong swimmer and nearly drowned (4 minutes underwater) at the age of 16. It really can happen to anyone. Thank you for sharing this. Hopefully your tips will help keep some little ones safe.

  156. What a blessing to have your boy alive and well. A couple years ago, our daughter almost drowned in a river. The two men who jumped in to save her, were not the best swimmers (our girl was better than them, even though she was only 7). It taught me the importance that even adults need to swim well. If you have children, make sure you can save them. I hope your son a fast recovery. He’ll probably be scared of water for awhile. our girl still is.

  157. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU for posting that! I have recently purchased an I-phone, and I am always texting on it while driving down the freeway. I give some thought to the safety of myself and my children, but, I usually push it to the side assuring myself that I am a good driver, and I would not get into an accident because of this. This story goes to show how the smallest things can have such a huge impact. I will not text and drive anymore. Thank you for sharing!

  158. Wow, I’m so sorry you guys had to go through this but so glad everything turned out okay. When I was a toddler we had a family party around a pool. There were a lot of people there and a lot of people watching me and yet I still managed to fall in the spa. My grandma saw and jumped fully clothed in to get me. I wasn’t in long enough to have lost consciousness but it still scared everyone. Accidents happen in a split second and can happen to anyone. I’m glad you’re using this experience to help not only your family but others try and avoid some accidents. I know it can be tough to share experiences like this, especially with strangers on the internet, but hopefully it’ll help save some more lives.

  159. What a horrible wake-up call. So glad your son is okay, and so appreciative that you turned such a terrifying incident into an opportunity to educate others. God Bless you and your family.

  160. Wow! Kate, thanks so much for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you and your family. I am so glad to hear that things turned out ok. Sending hugs and happy thoughts your way!

  161. I know it was difficult to share this, but thank you. It’s a great reminder for all of us. I’m so glad he’s okay!

  162. Thank you for being so brave & sharing your story & links with your readers. The big guy upstairs was definitely watching out for all of you that day. My new saying is “Every day when we wake up we have another list of things to be thankful for.”

  163. So sorry this happened and so glad it turned out well. LOVE you comments about supervision, swimming lessons, etc.

  164. Thank you for your story. I life guarded for six years and have made many rescues. People just don’t realize how dangerous water can be. I once rescued a six year old boy who could not swim who was holding his older brother and father under the water with him, both of which could swim. I often get teased at family events that are near water because I have a hard time relaxing.

    I am grateful for your post and grateful for the safety of your son.

  165. Oh wow. I am so sorry for your experience and so thankful that all turned out so well! Thank you for sharing. What a terrifying experience for all of you!

  166. I can imagine this was hard to share, but with your reach, you are doing great good. Prayers and hugs your way.

  167. Thank you for writing this, you nailed it. So glad your son in ok. My older child went under once when my sister turned her back on him at the pool, lifeguard dove in fully clothed to get him. The second time he was 8, it had been a long day, early morning swim meet, late raft night. We were standing right there when he went under, a father next to me was able to just reach in and grab him immediately. My son was surprised that it even happened to him. I explained that he was tired and needed to learn his limits. It was a good teaching moment.

  168. Kate, I’m so glad that Clark and the rest of your family is well.Water can definitely take us by surprise. I admire you for sharing your experience to help another. That’s very bold of you.

    I definitely recommend everyone take a CPR and First Aid class. It was one of the first things my husband and I did together after we got married and we learned so much. It makes both of us feel safer to have someone else know how to help if there is an accident in the kitchen or one of us were to start choking and stop breathing. I hope your readers take your advice seriously.

  169. Holy moly, how scary!!!! I have always been fearful of the water. I am not a terrific swimmer but love to be in the pool. We have life jackets for my kids and that has helped me breathe a lot easier but I need that reminder just like everyone else. Thank you and I am soooooooooooooooo glad he is ok!!!! What a sweet miracle!

  170. Bless your heart! So thankful your son is okay and what a blessing to have such a hero among you. Thank you for sharing your story so others may learn and understand that a split second can change your life.

  171. I echo many who do not judge you. As parents we do our best, and even then, accidents and scary things happen. Your cute son obviously has a great purpose in this life, and that’s why he was spared. You are definitely a blessed Momma to have such a great kid to raise.

  172. Oh, my goodness! That is so scary!! I’m so grateful he is okay! Thank you for posting and reminding us to be so cautious. Thank you also for the link to that article on drowning. My little girl had a similar thing happen where she suddenly hit a slope in the pool and started to go down. I too had a baby in my arms and was chatting, but luckily I happened to turn my head to her just as she started going down and I practically threw my baby at my friend, grabbed one of those long floaty sticks from someone on the way and got to her while she was still able to grab it. Reading your story and that article made me realize how truly lucky I was to have seen it. It really did not look like anything much. The people who were all around her had no idea she was in trouble. Thank you for the reminder and I’m so grateful yours had a happy outcome too!

  173. Hugs to you, and thanks for your bravery in sharing and raising awareness about watching kids around water. Though not involving wateer, I went thru a similar type of near tragedy where I could have easily lost my sweet 4 year old, and she wound up with a minor skull fracture (oxymoron, much?) after falling off a ladder that she should never have been on while playing at a neighbors house. Thank you, thank you, thank you God, her brain is fine, and she suffered no lasting effects of her accident; we’re 2 years past the accident, now. But, oh the guilt that I have imposed on myself and the PTSD induced nightmares that I have had to work through.

    I was there “watching” her and visiting with about 6 other adult friends while about 10 kids ran around and played, and NOT ONE of us saw her climb a 8-foot high loft ladder. Not me, her mama didn’t notice until she fell. Talk about mommy guilt. I have learned that things happen in just a few seconds whether water is involved or not. Clearly we need to cautious and watch our kids, but accidents will happen and even the most attentive parent is going to have a moment that they cannot control and did not plan for. I guess I just want to tell you to expect to have a few meltdowns yourself when you slow down a bit. Forgive yourself and to give yourself grace.

    Thank you God for Clark’s saefty. Give his mama Your peace.

  174. I can not even imagine what you went through. Thank you so much for this reminder. We just recently moved to the Phoenix area and my kids are still swimming in November. The same can be said for bath tubs as well. I know I am guilty of getting distracted when my 1 and 3 year old are in the tub. Thank you for sharing your story!

  175. I’m so sorry that you had to go through such a scary situation! I worked as a lifeguard for a few years after high school and even with the best supervision, accidents still can happen. I can’t even begin to imagine how scary this was for you, I’m pretty sure people think I’m neurotic when my kids are in the pool (i even get anxious while my son is taking a private swim lesson with a instructor I completely trust) , but I don’t care anymore. Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to know that accidents can happen even with great supervision,the importance of CPR, and for me to re-certify! Glad Clark is safe and healthy, that you had some amazing , helpful friends and an extremely helpful teenager around at such a scary time!

  176. No rude or hateful comments from me. I am so thankful your son is well. This could happen to any parent who has ever taken their children swimming. Thank you so much for posting this very personal event in your life. Your openness and willingness to share has given me a wake up call. May God continue to bless you and your entire family.

  177. I am so sorry you had to go through this scary experience but I’m so glad all is well!! My little 2 yr old fell into a campfire pit (smoldering coals, not burning fire) this summer and burned her hands badly. We were watching her when it happened and even had my brother standing right next to her but when she lost her footing and started to tumble it didn’t matter – it happened SO fast! So I now know more than anyone how quickly these ACCIDENTS happen! We went through all of the what-if’s and still can’t figure out what we could have done differently (aside from not having a fire at all) but my heart goes out to you!! Thanks for sharing your story!

  178. I’m glad I read this story at home and not at work, because watching the ksl story totally put me in tears. What a scary experience! And how amazing that the teenager followed his heart and went swimming that night. I was at the TOFW in SLC, and I would have never guessed that something like this had just happened. Thank you for sharing this story and your advice. And I’m so glad everyone is healthy again. You are truly an amazing mom!

  179. I want you to know that I completely know what you and your family has gone through. 17 years ago my eldest son drown in his grandmother’s backyard swimming pool. Kyle would be 20 years old and at the time of his death my youngest was 6 month and he was 3. I am super thankful that you don’t know the pain of losing a child. The best thing you can do is stop playing the “What If” game and praise God that you still have Clark. The “What If” game does no good and you’re beating yourself up. I know that it is easier said than done. Accidents can happen so fast. You’re not God and can’t know everything, all you can do is learn from the experience and make corrections so something like this does not happen again. Give your little ones a hug and be thankful for their noise and messes. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend who this had happened to. Take a deep breath, hug your family and let the terror go. Keep the line of communication open with your husband. If you see him or think he’s beating himself up over this, remind him that neither of you are at fault, accidents happen and you both did the best you could do in this situation. Hold each other tight and pray together. My prayer is that this makes your family stronger and I agree that Clark needs to get back in the water and the sooner he does the easier it will be for him. Don’t allow him to make a swimming pool a monster in his own mind. My youngest son swims like a fish and my sibling have no fear when I take their kids swimming. Accidents like this make you super aware of things going on at the pool, and you watch all the kids, not just your own. This is a good thing and should be embraced.
    Good luck,
    Michelle Pense

    1. I already had knots in my stomach after reading this post, but after reading your comment, the tears started falling. Our stories are so similar…my son, aged 20 months, drowned in my grandparents’ pond 17 years ago. He would have turned 19 last month. We also had a 3-year-old at the time. I walked away to get dessert, my grandmother thought I was aware that he was following me, but I didn’t. I turned around the corner and he went the other way. When I returned and we couldn’t find him anywhere (we looked in the pond, but he was submerged and it was murky)…my mother asked God to give her a sign and she saw footprints in the muddy water. She and my aunt jumped in the pond and found him underwater. He was not able to be revived. I am blessed to have had that precious amount of time with him and look forward to the day that we are reunited.

  180. Thank you for sharing this. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard just reliving the nightmare enough to share is.

    I am truly sorry this happened to your family, but I am also glad Clark is okay, as are all the other children. Keeping your family in my thoughts.

  181. Oh my goodness…. thanks for sharing this story. I’ve read so many like this before and each time it’s a big wake up call to be so careful around water. I have little people I supervise without getting in all the time. I think it’s time I put on my suit and jump in too. This could happen to any of us.
    Thanks for the reminder. I am SO thankful he is OK. So very thankful.

  182. Oh Kate, I’m so sorry. I teared up reading your story and am so glad the outcome was as good as it was.

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