What would you do? Fence the pond, teach her to swim and keep her away until she learns, allow her to explore the edge and make sure you're always right there to retrieve her and create some way to get both adult and child out (this one seems like the "continuum concept" way and the way I was kind of leaning toward even though I'm not fully following the continuum concept, but it was awful leaving my other dd there crying and scared). It really shook us all up. Any suggestions or opinions would be appreciated. Thanks for your support.
In a lot of situations, it may be appropriate for kids to learn from their mistakes, but in this case, a mistake can mean death. I grew up in Southern California and in my neighborhood, just about everyone had pools and they were all gated. And my parents started us on swimming lessons at 2. But I still know of someone (without a pool) whose 2 yr old opened their back door, went to the neighbor's yard with an ungated pool, and drowned before the parent figured out where her 2 year old went. It can happen.
Mom to two daughters born in 1997 and 2000
I'm so sorry that happened to you and your child! It is so scary! We also have two small ponds and my child has not fallen in yet... HOwever she did slip and go under in the tub while I was right there. What scared me most was that she seemed so shocked at being underwater that she did not really try to get up herself and we have been taking swimming lessons for many months.
I would also definitely reccomend fencing the pond if possible AND also being there to watch your child. Even if she knows how to swim she may not be able to get out. Also, sometimes knowing how to swim means children think they can go swimming anywhere and everywhere. A friend of mine has a pool and said that all three of her children fell in at least once even when she was there. So unfortunately I would say NEVER leave them alone around the pond AND get a fence as a backup. Maybe you could also have some place to put your other baby if there is an emergency like a stroller of one of those outdoor play-yard things. Another option which sounds silly but saves lives is have your child wear a life vest if she wants to play near the pond, and still watch her. As you know they go in so fast! GOOD LUCK!
Also, when your younger baby starts rolling/crawling, you won't be able to put her down safely if needed while you rescue the other. Can you imagine trying to keep a baby and an active toddler's head above water while trying to attract attention to have someone come rescue all three of you?
I hope your sister is amenable to the fence/ladder idea. It really sounds to me that while you live there you need to take more precautions than are currently in place.
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It's not a totally inpenetrable fence, but it slows dd down long enough for me to get there if she heads for the water, kwim?