Parents in Florida have gone viral after sharing a video of their 13-month-old daughter struggling to stay afloat in a swimming pool while they teach ‘self-saving’.
The video, posted by Keri Morrison and her husband Roarke, may seem distressing to some, but they insist that all parents should do the same after their two-year-old son Jake died in a tragic drowning accident.
The family, who live in Orlando, lived ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’ in November 2013 when their first-born drowned while they were visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Jake managed to leave the house while his mother was breastfeeding her then three-month-old daughter Julia, Keri says; ‘Jake slipped out the back door in the pitch dark and fell off the dock… there was so much screaming going on because we knew he was in there but it was so dark we couldn’t see anything.
‘We have never felt so helpless in our entire life knowing that our baby needed us more than ever and we couldn’t save him.’
The parents have now set up a foundation in Jake’s memory, called Live Like Jake to bring awareness to drowning prevention and provide survival-swimming lessons to those who cannot afford them.
Infant swimming lessons are divisive in the parenting community, with some arguing it is ‘cruel’ to make a baby struggle in the water, while Keri says; ‘To me I’m protecting her and that is what a mother is supposed to do, protect her.’
The Morrison family are quick to stress that even parents who don’t have a swimming pool or open water near their home should take notice as they failed to do so.
Roarke says; ‘We do not own a pool and do not live on the water so we weren’t in a real hurry with the swim lessons although he did take lessons over the summer. He wasn’t really taking to it and we were just going to try again next year when he was a little older and more cooperative.
‘We beg of you if you have a child that does not know how to self-rescue and is over 6 months old please please please get them in lessons.’