She was wearing a life jacket. I think that's what makes the devastating drowning of 3-year-old Ellison Susman even more tragic.
The toddler was at a birthday party this past weekend with her family at an apartment complex. There were about 60 people there, and because there was a pool, Susman was outfitted with a life jacket.
But it wasn't enough.
Somehow, while her mom was breastfeeding the girl's sibling and the other party goers weren't looking, Ellison was able to slip off her life vest and got in the hot tub.
It was 15 minutes after it was noticed that she was missing that she was found -- at the bottom of the hot tub, unconscious. Her life jacket was lying there on the pool deck. Paramedics arrived and tried to resuscitate her, but she died two days later in the hospital. Now her family must try to go on with their lives, and they want to warn others not to trust life jackets and other devices.
Her dad Ernie Susman told KTLA: "Don't trust these life preservers. Don't take your eye off your child one second. Don't trust your neighbors thinking they're gonna keep an eye on your child."
Devastating, but such a powerful reminder that we shouldn't trust toddlers, or kids who don't know how to swim, near any water period. All summer I've been reading stories almost daily of children who drown or nearly do so in all sorts of bodies of water. In Minnesota last week, a 1-year-old boy drowned in an inflatable pool. In Massachusetts a 2-year-old girl wandered into a neighbor's yard and drowned in their pool. It happens in buckets and in bathtubs, and anywhere water can be found.
It is incomprehensible that one minute these sweet children are running around playing, and the next they are gone forever. So think of them. Think of them and remember that children and water are a dangerous mix, and you can never be too cautious.
Do you trust life jackets to keep your children safe?