Grandmother’s Heroic Jump Into Pool to Save Drowning Grandchild Ends in Double Horror

poolsideWhen most people hear I don't know how to swim, they assume I grew up in some landlocked town far from water and my parents never took me to a pool. They're wrong twice over: I grew up beside a river and spent summer after summer in swimming lessons. And yet, just like the heroic grandmother who died this week trying to rescue her 3-year-old granddaughter in the pool, I'm a major drowning risk.

The Woodbridge, California tragedy scares me today because that could be me. A woman and child are dead because of a nightmare that points out pool safety isn't just about little kids.

There are plenty of grown folks in America who don't know how or can't swim. There's me, who -- despite all those lessons and a childhood spent literally feet from one of America's major rivers -- is just so uncoordinated that I can't do it. There are people who grew up too poor for lessons and far from water. There are people with medical conditions and mental conditions ... And you can say, well then, those people shouldn't go near water, but tragedies like this prove it's not that simple.

Police say the little girl and grandmother were discovered by the employee of a lawn maintenance company, so they can only guess at what happened. Because there was a stroller in the pool, they're guessing the child fell in, and the grandmother jumped in after her to rescue her. Because Grandma couldn't swim herself, both, tragically, drowned.

But what choice would you have given her? She jumped in because that's what people do when there is a child in the pool -- whether they can swim or not. It's called being selfless and caring about a child in need. The tragic ending doesn't negate her heroism.

But heroism doesn't address how tragedies like this happen to begin with. I wasn't in the least bit surprised to find out there was no gate blocking access to the pool at the family's rental home. I live in a state where this is the law, and I can't tell you how many people have still skipped out on this simple life-saving option.

They complain that it costs too much or that "oh well, you know, I know how to swim and so do my kids."

OK, but why take the risk? You don't think you'll ever have someone else there? There will never be a reason to put safety measures in place? Never ever?

Let's be realistic for a second. Kids see water (and they don't see property lines) as fun without seeing the hazard. And if a kid goes into the water, guess who goes after them ...

How many people do you know who can't swim? How old are they?


Image via slava/Flickr



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Joan Neville Buffa

Dear God, why were they even near the pool?  God bless them.

Laura Boone Sisk

My mother can't swim and is terrified of deep water. She was pushed off a dock once as a teen and nearly drowned until one of the boys realized she couldn't swim and saved her.

Terri Mitchell


volsm... volsmomma22

Where we live if you have a pool you have to have a fence with a latch otherwise you cant get house insurance I never imagined there were areas where you didnt have to have a fence it should be law precautions should be taken theres no such thing as over protecting a child- to answer the question I have an aunt who cant swim shes terrified of water but she wanted her kids in swim lessons when they were kids so my mom took them

nonmember avatar yari

Another guilty here. Im 25, from Puerto Rico. I used to live 5 mins from the beach, my grandma's house there was a big pool and my mom was so scared of me and my sis drowning that we rarely visit grandma (the pool was unsafe w.out gates or anything). Im not a water person so I was never too interested in learning ho to swim. Now being a mom of a 10m baby, even before pre-school Im goingt to make sure that he learns. I dont want him to miss pool activities at school or at the beach. It is very sad to lose two persons at the same time over negligence. RIP.

music... musicteacher40

I too had lessons to learn how to swim, but during one of those lessons, my swim instructor had us jumping off the low diving board and then throwing us the life-ring and pulling us in...when it came my turn she got side-tracked by something else, just as I was jumping in...I almost died....I don't remember anything after the jump, other than what I was told...another instructor dove in saved me...they even performed CPR on me to get me breathing again...  I have tried to learn how to swim since then and it just doesn't happen...I love to be on the water (canoing and local pool), but I have to make sure that the water is not above my head...and NO I CAN"T SWIM!!!!!!


So don't be saying that everyone can at least dog paddle!  I have tried, just can't!... bad

Pat Herrera

I only swim across pool underwater and yes I would jump in if my grandchild or any child was drowing.

Angela Taylor Harris

Does anyone remember a couple of years ago when 6 teens died while wading in a river, NONE OF THEM knew how to swim! It was a huge group of people and NO ONE could swim, not one of the adults either!! What the hell were they doing IN a RIVER. Then not too long ago an NFL player rescued a drowning child at a pool party because he was the ONLY adult there who could swim...AT A POOL PARTY. Sensless tragedy. I totally understand that some people have fears, Im not sure I get why some just have no interest in learning but regardless if there is even a remote possibilty of a kid coming in contact with water there should be an adult that is prepared to take action if necessary. 

firefay firefay

There is a pool at the apartment complex my family lives in. The two big rules with kids is they must be potty trained and a swimmer MUST be with them at all times. The doggy paddle isn't good enough. Since neither DH nor I swim, and our kids are very young, we don't use the pool.

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