Nicole Hughes hopes her story of loss motivates others to start swim lessons immediately for young children.
Last April, the mom decided to put off lessons until her son turned 4 years old, but by then, it was too late.
Six weeks later, she lost the 3-year-old to a drowning accident while on a family vacation.
Hughes’ story is heartbreaking but serves as an important reminder. She urged parents on Facebook to protect small children from the number one cause of death for kids ages 1 to 4. She explained:
Please enroll your toddler in the RIGHT swim lessons, ones that focus on water competency. ‘Survival’ is the goal. If your child can ‘swim’ but only WITH a flotation device, that is not swimming.
If your precious 3-year-old somehow found his way to the deep end, could he survive?
The mother went on to say that her girls learned to swim at age 3 but that the family had a difficult time finding toddler swim lessons in East Tennessee. Hughes and her husband decided to wait until Levi turned 4 to enroll him in swim class.
Weeks later, Hughes wrote that she “pulled his lifeless body out of a pool.”
She explained in her post:
When my girls were each 3, though, they took private lessons and could both swim within months of their third birthday. I will never stop wishing to go back in time and enroll Levi.
Last April, my husband asked- “What should we do about Levi and swim lessons?” Our girls each learned to swim at age 3,…
Hughes said she understands that swim lessons can be expensive and that many cities lack quality courses. She wrote on Facebook:
I used to be a typical mom of 3 kids, forced to weigh every decision on time, finances, and my own parenting energy- which all seemed stretched too thin.
To overcome this challenge, according to Romper, the mother encouraged families to invest in private swim lessons for children:
I am fully aware of how many cities lack quality swim lessons, and I hope — I know — we can get this fixed. Just this month, our area gained two survival swim instructors. And, we are working on an exciting project behind the scenes to make these lessons more accessible and affordable within the community.
The mom added that her “long-term goal” is to work with organizations “to help bring the right kind of swim lessons to as many communities as possible.”
I would do anything to change the past and still have Levi here. But, I can’t go back. I can only hope that we can all change the future together. I am grateful to the @AmerAcadPeds for their passionate advocacy for children. https://t.co/zuogZAuNv8
— Levi’s Legacy (@LevisLegacy3) April 10, 2019
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) told CBS News that swimming lessons can begin as early as 1 year old to reduce the risk of drowning.
Hughes wrote that to prevent these tragedies, families on a budget can seek scholarships from nonprofits offering scholarships or “ask for swim lessons instead of gifts.”