WWYD - Babysitter & pool incident - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
MAMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,472
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
DS had a pool b-day party, so I had my college-age sitter come to be one-on-one with my DD (4) so I wouldn't have to worry about her during the party. DD swims with a bubble, but not on her own, and the sitter knew this. She spent the first part of the party in the pool with DD, but then they both got out.

From there, everything happened so quickly, I didn't really realize what was going on in real time, and had to piece things together with DH after the party.

I was on the other side of the pool setting up for lunch and noticed out of the corner of my eye that the sitter was walking from the far side of the pool to the side I was on. I didn't think much of it in the moment...I just figured she had handed DD off to my DH, who was sitting in a chair at the corner of that side.

Then, in the next moment before I had even realized what had happened, the lifeguard was pulling DD out of the water. DD had jumped into the pool without her bubble on, and the lifeguard had to pull her out. She was very shaken up, but thankfully ok. And thank goodness the lifeguard saw her jump in, b/c neither DH (he was taking pictures) or I did (b/c we were expecting that the sitter was watching her).

I have not yet asked the sitter what happened from her perspective (but plan to), but DH said she did not ask him to keep his eye on DD before she left her to go to the other side of the pool.

She has sat for us for almost 3 years, and this is the only incident we have ever had with her, but obviously it is a big one.

What would you do?
MAMom is offline  
#2 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 11:17 PM
 
Laur318's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 134
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
wow, so sorry. it's awful this happened to you and your poor DD. your sitter must feel really bad, i bet she loves your DD and is even embarassed. it was in public, to make it worse.
i bet she thought DD was busy with close relatives and friends, totally supervised and safe. maybe she went to use the bathroom and asked someone she felt was trustworthy to relieve her (Doesn't make it right, I'm just thinking for a minute here...) Being clsoe to the family, I'm sure she'd never leave her alone especially if she thought your DD would do something dangerous or go for a swim.
if the sitter has been with you for 3 years, she obviously loves your kid and your family. that said, don't make her feel worse about it. she's not a professional nanny, or a mom, therefore she doesn't have the instincts that you do, clearly. it's a shame it happened on her watch. i would ask her what happened, remind her of what she was hired to do that day, explain the pool safety again, and let her know it could have turned out disastrous. you don't want the relationship to end over one mishap and your DH probably trust her all the rest of the times. you want her around, you want to fix this and ensure it wont happen again, so no scolding. don;t pin all the blame on her and make her feel like a failure, or irresponsible. those are feelings that would definitely make her look for a new sitting job pronto. mistakes are made and accidents happen and fortunately you had all the precautions in place to prevent it from being terrible.
Laur318 is offline  
#3 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 11:29 PM
 
Laur318's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 134
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I reread your post. Again, not that this makes it "right" but it seems like maybe the sitter was coming to ask you a question or coming to help you set up lunch. I definitely think she thought DD was safe, or was going to "stay right there" but she obviously should have been at her side.
Laur318 is offline  
#4 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 11:36 PM
 
Grace and Granola's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Saint Louis, MO
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
ITA.

I was much younger, 16 maybe, when I was babysitting the 3yo daughter of my dad's best friend. They lived on a lake and I went to take the little girl down to the dock, had her life jacket in my hands and that little 3yo jumped off the end of the dock in a split second before I got that jacket on her. I jumped right in and got her out, but we were both shaken up. I can't even tell you how horrible I felt. I still think about that incident and that little girl from time to time now, almost 20 years later.

I agree that even though you've had that sitter for 3 years, and clearly, she knows your dd, she's not a mom. She doesn't have that instinct yet. She may have clearly asked your dd to stay put while she did X and expected her to do so. I have no idea of course, but I am sure she feels terrible that that happened.

If you like her otherwise, I would really try to forgive her and move past it.

Heather-- I'm a <>< SAHM of two fabulous boys 8/05 and 2/07
Grace and Granola is offline  
#5 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 11:37 PM
 
BellinghamCrunchie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Alpha Centauri
Posts: 4,293
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
One thing I've learned being a mom is that people who are not parents have no realistic idea how closely you must watch children near water, like a swimming pool. I certainly had no idea before I had children, either. You literally cannot take your eyes off them. Drowning is not usually very noisy; that's part of the problem, and even DH still has trouble recognizing this.

So I don't fault the babysitter.

I simply would not trust a babysitter to watch my child near water deep enough to go over her head. Its just not worth the risk. In a crowded situation like you describe, DD would be required to have her swimming vest on and not take it off. At all.

The only time before DD learned to swim that DD was allowed to not have her vest on was when I was in the pool one on one with her (which was nearly 90% of the time, so she got plenty of vest-free time).
BellinghamCrunchie is offline  
#6 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 11:40 PM
 
Drummer's Wife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Land of Enchantment
Posts: 11,793
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm glad your little girl is okay. How scary!

ribboncesarean.gif cesareans happen.
Drummer's Wife is offline  
#7 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 11:56 PM
 
~cassie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: louisiana
Posts: 324
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Since I had something similar happen to ds last year waiting for swim class no less, I would try and find out what went on but I wouldn't hold her at fault. Hopefully this makes her realize how quick kids are and how quickly something bad can happen.

Cassie, mom to Alex(4/7/05), Aidan(7/12/07), and Andrew(8/18/08)

~cassie is offline  
#8 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 12:26 AM
 
4evermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PA
Posts: 8,834
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I kinda would have expected my ds at age 4 to realize he wasn't wearing a floatation device and to not jump in the water. So I would chalk it up as a lesson learned by all and not be too hard on the babysitter. Just figure out what needs to be done or said to avoid a repeat, particularly by talking to dd about not jumping in the water without telling anyone and reminding her she can't float without her gear.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
4evermom is offline  
#9 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 10:41 AM
 
mamalisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Germantown WI
Posts: 8,434
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
I kinda would have expected my ds at age 4 to realize he wasn't wearing a floatation device and to not jump in the water. So I would chalk it up as a lesson learned by all and not be too hard on the babysitter. Just figure out what needs to be done or said to avoid a repeat, particularly by talking to dd about not jumping in the water without telling anyone and reminding her she can't float without her gear.

I agree. My dd was almost 4 on vacation last year and there is no way she would go in the pool without her "swimmy''. She knew she'd go under. I would expect to be able to let a 4 year old stand by themselves near a pool without thinking they would randomly jump in.

I would talk to them both about pool safety and make sure everyone knows the rules. Especially that you cannot go in the water alone and that your dd cannot be left alone near the pool.
mamalisa is online now  
#10 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 10:42 AM
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am inclined to be easy on the babysitter and consider it good experience for her - assuming she really understands what happened and how serious it was. This kind of experience, if she really "gets it" will likely make her a better babysitter from here on.

The reason I feel that way is because a month ago, a similar incident happened WITH MY OWN CHILD. I mean, a college girl does not have the same experience and maternal hormones and so on to understand just how crucial this is, but I have no such excuse.

DD, DH and I were at the YMCA and getting ready to go in the pool. DD, also 4 years old, swims only with a bubble just like yours. She was so excited to be going to the pool (it was the first time we did a family swim together) that she wasn't thinking about her bubble. She used to it always being on, and she was just so excited about swimming. We approached the pool stairs and I looked at my DH and said "Hon, can you grab a bubble over there?" I IMMEDIATELY looked back at DD - and she was already in the pool over her head. This happened in 2, MAYBE 3, seconds of me looking at DH.

Time slowed down, almost stopped. DH had already turned to get the bubble. There were 2 railings between me and DD (hard to explain, but I couldn't just leap). I was so scared I couldn't even speak but I managed a strangled noise: "Ullgh!" DH fortunately heard the meta-message, turned, and jumped in and got DD. DD was scared and cried for a minute but recovered quickly. She hadn't breathed in any water yet, which shows how quickly we were able to react. I looked up to see the lifeguard had been in action but stopped and watched when DH got DD. We were her PARENTS, and we were RIGHT THERE!!

All 3 of us learned from that incident. DD always asks before she can go in the pool now. I always hold her hand until we get the bubble. We learned how quick it can be - and unfortunately how QUIET it can be - it wasn't all splashing and yelling, but she was in over her head and couldn't yell, and she was trying to swim but wasn't big enough to make a splash.

If your babysitter GETS how scary that was, I think she is now a more valuable babysitter than she used to be, and I wouldn't replace her with another, unknown babysitter who hasn't had this valuable experience.

If she doesn't seem to GET it ("oh, yeah, the lifeguard got her, thank god she's ok") - then I feel differently of course.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
#11 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 10:47 AM
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post
I agree. My dd was almost 4 on vacation last year and there is no way she would go in the pool without her "swimmy''. She knew she'd go under. I would expect to be able to let a 4 year old stand by themselves near a pool without thinking they would randomly jump in.
Well, my 4 year old made this mistake, and the OP's did too. And surely other 4 year olds have made this mistake. I don't see the value in saying how dumb it is - they are 4 year olds. They might be excited. And they may very well not know they can't swim without their bubbles - how does yours know? Did yours try to? Mine didn't know until she tried to, and I don't think that makes her the dumbest 4 year old in the world - it's experience that makes us all learn.

No, that's the point, you cannot let a 4 year old stand by themselves near a pool. You really can't. I'm not that overprotective but it's common knowledge - any parenting magazine will run articles every now and then driving home the point that you CAN'T leave little kids unsupervised near a pool for even "just a minute." And "unsupervised" doesn't mean "nobody around" - it means nobody paying attention to the kid. My 4 year old got in the pool because she was unsupervised for 2 seconds despite being an arm's reach from me and DH. We both took our attention off of her and that was all it took.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
#12 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 11:22 AM
 
Marsupialmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 9,495
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If this is the only incident, I would talk to her about pool safety.

Honestly, your dd could have darted off from you and the same thing happen. It is scary but it can happen to the best care giver. We have friends that are life guards (sister), the oldest of there child is in life guard training, and the youngest of their 11 kids did this to them a few Sunday's ago at stroke clinic for swim team. The 4 year old was more upset because the disapproving eyes than the almost down situation. This little girl is the only one not on the swim team she knows the rules and is always around pools.

Your four year old also needs to be "corrected" she is old enough to know the rules. You should remind her before visits but also you need to expect more of her.

Also, you need to make your dd pool safe. A ring around her doesn't make her pool safe. A life vest and learning to swim does! I would be enrolling that girl in classes. Some kids take longer than others to learn but holding on to rings is not necessarily helpful and can give false since of abilities/safety.
Marsupialmom is offline  
#13 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 11:35 AM
MJB
 
MJB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1,565
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My 4 yr. old needed to be "rescued" by lifeguards several times when he was in swim lessons at 3. Kids have no good sense sometimes! He can swim now but he thought he could long before he actually could and as soon as the swim teacher was with another kid, the lifeguard would have to pull him up. The good news is he wasn't traumatized in the least (or he wouldn't have kept doing it).
MJB is offline  
#14 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 11:39 AM
 
4evermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PA
Posts: 8,834
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
Well, my 4 year old made this mistake, and the OP's did too. And surely other 4 year olds have made this mistake. I don't see the value in saying how dumb it is - they are 4 year olds.
No one used the word dumb. Of course 4 year olds need supervision. However, helping a child to be responsible for herself is perhaps the most important safety precaution one can take. If a child always uses floatation devices, especially ones that attach to them, it is easy for them to be over confident in water. They don't know what sinking feels like. They don't know to be cautious. And of course some kids are naturally more cautious than others which can be both a positive and a negative attribute at times.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
4evermom is offline  
#15 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 11:46 AM
 
Earthy Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 1,202
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When my dd was 4 (i think it's that age!) I was in the deep end of the pool with my older dd and she was instructed to stay on the steps. There were about 4 other adults there as well. Well, next thing I know she's beebopping around in the shallow end. I told her to turn around immediately-well, the slope was right there and she slipped. I had to high tail it across the pool (never swam so fast in my life!) to pull her up.
It can (and does) happen to even the most conscientious child-watcher.
Earthy Mama is offline  
#16 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
MAMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,472
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks, everyone, for your replies. It has given me a lot to think about in preparation for my discussion with the sitter.

To address some of the points raised, we go swimming and boating all the time as a family, so being in a pool/near the water wasn't a new experience for her. I talk repeatedly about "the rules" with DD (swimming, boating and otherwise), because she can be a bit of a daredevil (but b/c sitter has been with us for so long, I expect her to know that about DD). I do not expect impulse control to be fully developed for a 4 year old, though. It was the sitter's job to be with her.

I will admit I didn't go over the pool rules explicitly with DD that day b/c I expected the sitter to be one-on-one with her and not to let her out of her sight/reach.

When we asked DD after the party ended what happened, she said she thought she had her bubble on (and I believe her), so it wasn't like she jumped into the pool on purpose without a bubble, but that still doesn't make it ok and of course we discussed what happened and talked about how dangerous it was and about drowning and how hurt she could have gotten (again, not new topics for us, but clearly not drilled in enough yet).

I don't know if DD took her own bubble off after the sitter started to walk away (she knows how) so the sitter didn't realize that it was off, or if the sitter knew it was off. But if the sitter knew it was off and still walked to the other side of the pool, that is a huge concern for me as well.

DD *just* finished 8 weeks of swimming lessons at the Y, where they also talk repeatedly about "the rules". I was going to take a break from lessons for the summer, but now it is clear to me that she needs to be in swimming classes until she really knows how to swim independently, so I'm about to enroll her in lessons again starting asap.

Obviously, DH and I did learn a very, very important lesson and it was a huge eyeopener, and I will not be letting anyone else watch my kids near the water for a long, long time.

Thanks again for your input.
MAMom is offline  
#17 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 12:13 PM
 
mamalisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Germantown WI
Posts: 8,434
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
I kinda would have expected my ds at age 4 to realize he wasn't wearing a floatation device and to not jump in the water. So I would chalk it up as a lesson learned by all and not be too hard on the babysitter. Just figure out what needs to be done or said to avoid a repeat, particularly by talking to dd about not jumping in the water without telling anyone and reminding her she can't float without her gear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
No one used the word dumb. Of course 4 year olds need supervision. However, helping a child to be responsible for herself is perhaps the most important safety precaution one can take. If a child always uses floatation devices, especially ones that attach to them, it is easy for them to be over confident in water. They don't know what sinking feels like. They don't know to be cautious. And of course some kids are naturally more cautious than others which can be both a positive and a negative attribute at times.
Thank you. I didn't say anyone was dumb. What I said was that a 4 year old is old enough to understand they DO NOT go in the water unless they have permission. It is the same as standing next to the street without holding a hand, you do NOT just go. My point was that obviously a lesson was learned for both of them and the sitter and the child both need to be made to understand very clearly that 1) the child cannot be unwatched ever and 2) the child needs to understand that they can NEVER go in the pool unless they have been told specifically that they can.
mamalisa is online now  
#18 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 12:15 PM
 
One_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,735
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
I think you should ask the sitter what happened and review pool safety rules with your dd. When my dd was in swimming lessons they taught the kids to never get in the water unless the person they were swimming with was in already and said it was okay for them to get in. Is it possible that they were both getting out and she thought your dd was following her? I have sometimes started off for a place only to realize that my dd is not doing what I expected her to do.
One_Girl is offline  
#19 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 01:35 PM
 
nextcommercial's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,589
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I wouldn't fault the sitter either.

I was babysitting a four year old, and he forgot he didn't have floaties on, and he jumped in. I was right there, and I watched him for a second, thinking "surely he will stand up". But, he just floated to the bottom (of a three foot pool) and sat there looking up at me. After that, I wouldn't let him use floaties anymore, and made him learn to get himself out.

Kids forget, they get excited and jump in without thinking first. Teenagers are also not always equipped to be able to handle that all the time, every time. Heck, most adults can't do it perfectly.

It just happened. Everybody learned something from it.

Maybe swim lessons this summer would be a good idea if you have access.
nextcommercial is offline  
#20 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 02:47 PM
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post
Thank you. I didn't say anyone was dumb. What I said was that a 4 year old is old enough to understand they DO NOT go in the water unless they have permission.
I know you didn't use the word "dumb" but what is the implication? If 4 year olds should know this, and mine did not and the OP's did not, where does that leave us? And how is it helpful to either of us?

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
#21 of 21 Old 05-19-2010, 12:11 AM
 
mamalisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Germantown WI
Posts: 8,434
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
I know you didn't use the word "dumb" but what is the implication? If 4 year olds should know this, and mine did not and the OP's did not, where does that leave us? And how is it helpful to either of us?
Yea, you got me, I think everyone else is dumb.

No, not really. My point is, that everyone is focusing on the fact that she went in without floaties on, which in my opinion is NOT the point at all. The point is that she went in the water without anyone knowing. The danger of forgetting that she didn't have the floaties on is completely different than the fact that she went in the water and no one knew. The rule shouldn't be that she has to wear floaties, the rule for ALL children that they never enter water without explicit permission.

I think both the sitter and the child learned a valuable lesson and thank heavens it turned out just fine.
mamalisa is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off