Young Brother & Sister Found Drowned in Neighbor's Pool After Mom Reports Them Missing

children drown in swimming poolA news story out of Islip, New York on Long Island will have every parent crying. Two young siblings, a 5-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, went missing from their home yesterday only to be found drowned in the neighbor's pool. The pool owner has been cited for insufficient fencing, but I am sure that provides little comfort for their mother.

Little Ralph and Sharon Knowles paid the price for their neighbor's lack of adequate fencing. It's hard to imagine two beautiful children gone just like that. As a mom of two children just one year behind Ralph and Sharon, I can imagine my two little explorers wanting to do something like that. Four & six and five & seven happen to be the ages when EVERYONE says, "It has gotten so much easier for you." Some even call it the "golden age." It is, too. They are so sweet and young and innocent still. But they are also more independent. This story is a reminder of just how young they really still are.

When children are babies, we baby-proof every possible hard edge. We lock our cabinets and keep them in our arms 99 percent of the day. By age 4, this has started to change. I will even let my children play in the backyard for small periods of time while I am in the kitchen cooking. Granted, our kitchen has a huge window that looks over the backyard and they are always in my sight. But still. This is the age of more freedom and independence. Letting go in that way is good for both mom and child.

I won't change my behavior because of this story. I know horror stories happen even to the best parents and that being overly paranoid will not stop them from happening. But it does break my heart for this mom who will undoubtedly blame herself even if it's completely not her fault in any way.

Losing two kids like that is unimaginable. A worse nightmare than my subconscious can even conjure.

These horror stories sell well and get a lot of attention. They often provide moms on message boards and in comments sections plenty of opportunity to feel smug and superior and say they would NEVER do such a thing. But we are all fallible and we are all doing the best we can. Even a mom who DOES give her child a little more freedom than another (and it isn't clear this mom even did) is often not at fault if something happens to her babies.

Things happen. Life can be random and cruel and sometimes downright tragic. Sometimes there is no one really to blame. My heart is broken for these two innocent siblings who probably just wanted to explore.

There are no words.

Do you immediately jump to blaming parents for tragedies? If so, why?


Image via Purple_Mecha/Flickr

accidents, family


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LostS... LostSoul88

why blame the neighbor? Where the hell was the mother if you want to point blame? It was an ACCIDENT, things happened. yes the neighbor should have had fencing but the mother should also have been watching her children and told them how important it was to stay out of the neighbors yard. 

cmjaz cmjaz

I agree with lostsoul

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

That poor mother, i can't even begin to imagine how awful it must be to lose two children, my heart really goes out to her.

I do wonder why the neighbour has been cited though- surely the pool was on their private property, and if the two children went onto the neighbours property it's hardly the neighbour's fault. She must feel so guilty, this is hardly appropriate. Accidents happen, and sadly some end up tragic.

redK8... redK8blueSt8

Why is the neighbor to blame at all?! It's not their responsibility to parent (watch and instruct) those two kids who entered the pool uninvited and unattended. 

daydr... daydreamer6170

emma, I know in my area its law to have a locked fence of somesort around pools. not saying this is his fault or anyones, just a horrible accident. when I was that age I was allowed to play in the yard by myself or ride my bike around, so im not blaming the mother either. this guy is getting the same citation he would have gotten if someone had just called to report a fencing issue, so either way the sitation is his own fault. I feel so awful for this mother.

nonmember avatar mel

Obviously women who have commented do not know much about owning a pool.

Yes it is their responsibilty as pool owners to fence their pool. If you choose to have a pool and live in a residential area you are liable in many ways. This is why pools usually are usually a bad investment besides being a money hole.

The city/county have laws about pool ownership and obviously they were in violation because they got a citation. Just because you ' own' the land doesnt mean you dont have to follow county guidelines. Obviously the city/county have these regulstions because of incidents like this. Think full circle people.

tessi... tessiekat

I agree with LostSoul88. It was an unfortunate accident that happens and sadly will continue to happen as the weather heats up.

nonmember avatar kaerae

Swimming lessons are not just recreation, like piano or dancing lessons, they are ESSENTIAL! Water is everywhere, and having a 5 and 7-year old who can't swim and tread water is unacceptable. This is a horrible tragedy, but others need to learn from it. Whether your child likes water or wants to be a swimmer or not, they must learn to swim early!

ILove... ILovemyPaulie

I agree 100% with LostSoul88. The Mother did not report the two children missing in the afternoon for one hour!

Mommi... MommietoJB

I agree with kaerae. Teach your kids water safety and teach them how to swim. Its such an unfortunate accident, I bet one sibling fell in and the other probably tried to save the other, maybe??. The neighbor is responsible to fence his pool but to me 5 and 7 year olds should not be left unattended outside. I hope a lot more parents take charge of their childrens water safety this summer.

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