Valley mom: Stop being mean online with families whose children have drowned

Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 22:47:52-04

A Valley mother wants to share the story of her son's survival, after hearing about at least three child drownings in the last few days.

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Terri Grub says it's overwhelming, and brings back memories of her own near-tragedy when her child Stryder almost died in the backyard pool.

Stryder was 11 months old at the time, and left in the care of Grub's ex-husband; the toddler got past the pool fence while in his walker and fell into the swimming pool.

"He found him in the pool, got him out, he was not breathing, didn't have a pulse, his lips were blue," said Grub, still shaking even three years after the incident. 

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Grub said she thinks about it every single day. Even something as simple as putting her child in a bathtub had taken on a new meaning.

She also knew first hand the public judgment and barbs that came along with something like this.

Grub said in addition to dealing with her son in the ICU, she couldn't help but notice the harsh comments those who did not even know her were making on social media. It added more weight to the pain.

"They were saying we were careless parents, we were selfish parents," said Grub.

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She added that in times like this, it's already tough enough for the family and the first responders who are dealing with it, so she's asking the community to hold off on being so harsh.

In her case, Stryder survived and that alone was a miracle.

"He was dead. he had no pulse, the hospital staff let me crawl up on the gurney and hold him while they were working on him," she said. "I didn't know if it was the last time I would be holding my child alive."

Stryder is now a 4-year-old child in pre-school. Grub said she wanted to share her story to let let people know this can happen to anyone.

"A pool fence is great, a pool cover is wonderful but it can't replace a parent's supervision," she said. "You have to watch your child." 

The biggest takeaway here is learning how to do CPR. It's a skill every parent or caregiver should have and keep refreshing. 

Scottsdale firefighters recommend caregivers sign up online, by clicking on this link for registration, or call (480) 312-7957, to take CPR classes. 

They share the following tips: 

"A – Adult supervision

  • Whenever infants and toddlers are in or around water, an adult should supervise within an arm’s length of the children.
  • In addition to parental supervision, designate an adult 'water watcher' (using a distinguishable item such as a lanyard or funny hat) whose sole responsibility is to watch the pool area for 15 minutes and not read, talk on the phone or be influenced by other distractions. After 15 minutes, give the distinguishable item to another adult for 15 minutes, and so forth. Ensure that the water watcher is a sober adult who knows CPR and has basic swimming skills.
  • Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. 'Water wings,' or 'floaties,' inflatable water rings and other pool toys are NOT safety devices. Only U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets are designed and tested for safety.

B – Barriers, beach safety and boating safety

  • Have a properly working physical barrier around, on or in the pool (i.e. isolation fence, pool safety cover, pool alarm) that meets code requirements.
  • Have window and door alarms that sound when breached.
  • Always swim at a lifeguarded beach, and pay attention to the beach flags. Wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets while on a boat.

C – Classes

  • Take a water safety course at a local aquatic facility to learn the skills necessary to survive in the water.
  • Take CPR classes.

D – Drain Safety

  • Have a pool professional check residential drain covers to determine whether or not they are safe.
  • Encourage children to stay away from drains. Non-compliant drain covers can cause suction entrapment injuries and possible death.
  • Those using a pool/spa should know where the cutoff switch is for the pump in case a suction entrapment incident occurs."