I had a reminder today about how important it is to watch kids very closely around water, no matter how shallow. I'm always right there with my kids in the water, sometimes to the point of paranoia it feels like, but today I'm so glad I was there.
We were at a wading pool and DS - almost 3 - was in thigh deep water and fell over. He panicked and couldn't or didn't get up. He has some motor skill issues, but does very well in the water, so there was no physical reason he couldn't just stand up, or even kneel, to lift his head above the water.
Fortunately I was right there so he was only under for a few seconds, but it was a long few seconds for both of us. Had I been outside the water watching from the side he would have been under long enough to breathe in some of the water; he was panicking so he wouldn't have held his breath, even though he knows how to do that. The lifeguards were watching the kids in the deeper part of the pool and probably wouldn't have noticed for several minutes.
I hear about kids drowning in 18 inches of water surrounded by lifeguards and people and wonder how something like that could happen, and now I know.
It was a scary moment, but DS is fine; he was back to swimming and playing within a few minutes.