Mom Posts Water Safety Plea After Son's Near Drowning

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
Maribeth Leeson/Facebook

Adam was in a pool full of adults when he drowned

Indiana mom, Maribeth Leeson, is offering sobering advice to all parents after her son nearly drowned in a pool full of adults — none of whom noticed the boy was struggling.

Leeson was at a friend’s house swimming with her five-year-old son, Adam, his brothers and sister, and other friends when she suddenly realized he wasn’t playing underwater but screaming for her to help. Adam was pulled from the pool where a family friend immediately began CPR. “This is happening,” Leeson wrote. “My funny, silly, sweet, handsome, artistic, thoughtful little blondie was dead.”

She continued: “My son drowned 3 days ago. His limp, gray, lifeless body was pulled from the pool and it was every mother’s worst nightmare. He was dead. I heard screaming, and after a minute realized the screaming was coming from me.”

Leeson said as CPR continued that she thought about her other kids and what Adam’s death would do to them. “I thought about his twin brother and how could his life go on without his twin. I saw my 10-year-old son, hysterically sobbing, in his bright blue swim trunks, his beautiful tan skin glistening with pool water still,” she wrote. “His life ruined because he just watched his brother die, drowned in the same pool where he was playing. I saw my sassy little 3-year-old daughter, in her pink unicorn and rainbow suit, just watching me, confused.”

According to the CDC, from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day.

Leeson said she’s not sure how long CPR was administered as they waited for the ambulance to arrive but eventually it worked and Adam began to vomit and breathe. “My friend kept working, I kept talking. He started to try to open his eyes and another round of exclamation occured.”

Eventually, they made it to the hospital where Adam was in the ICU for three days recovering. “He is sitting beside me in bed right now playing with a stuffed puppy a friend brought to him and watching Captain Underpants for the 70th time,” Leeson wrote. “He’s off all oxygen. He will very likely come home with me today. Home with me 3 days after drowning, home to live happily with his family instead of us burying him today.”

Leeson said the reason for sharing her story was to highlight just how quickly someone can drown, even when people are all around them. “This happened in a pool full of people. A pool full of ADULTS,” she wrote. “I’ve read so many stories about kids slipping away from their parents and getting into a pool, to be found drowned shortly later. I’ve never considered the possibility that my child could drown right in front of people who were watching him bob up and down from the bottom of the pool to just below the surface, but didn’t think he was struggling because he looked like he was PLAYING.”

She also shared that Adam’s drowning was “100% preventable,” and that she felt that Adam was fine in the shallow end where she left him to attend to her daughter and knowing there were several other adults in the pool at the time and she was right next to the pool. But anyone with kids knows just how quickly things can change — in a split second — everything can change.

“He said he slipped off the edge. Based on where he was in the shallow end, and where we found him, he means the ledge from the shallow to the deep end,” Leeson said. “He said he kept going to the bottom then to the top and tried to yell ‘Mommy!’ It kills me to hear that. It kills me to know that his last thoughts were that mommy didn’t come for him.”

Leeson is urging parents to read and share her story in the hopes it prevents another family from going through what they went through. “KNOW THE SIGNS OF STRUGGLE! Adam didn’t look like he was struggling! He wasn’t splashing, thrashing, or screaming,” she said. “And I’m sharing to hopefully spread drowning awareness…Please take water safety seriously. I never thought this would be me.”

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