(WJHL) — A family from Tri-Cities went on vacation… and their lives changed forever.
In 2018, the Hughes family was in a vacation home and their son Levi sneaked into the pool. They found him, but he died hours later.
Drowning is the number one cause of death in children aged one to four years and the number two cause of death in children aged five to fourteen.
We spoke to a pediatrician from Holston Medical Group to get advice on child safety… and a Tri-Cities mom is on a mission to save other families from the pain of losing a child.
Nichole Hughes started Levi’s Legacy after her son accidentally drowned. She is on a mission to make sure no one else goes through the pain she feels every day.
“How did we not know, how can we help other parents know what would have changed our situation,” she said.
Levi’s Legacy has created Water Guardian tags, provides scholarships for infant swimming courses, and partners with the American Academy of Pediatrics to educate pediatricians about water safety so they can pass it on to their patients. dr. Jessica Hommel is one of those pediatricians.
“So we talk about avoiding pee jumpers, taking survival swimming lessons and trying to make them as safe as possible,” Hommel said. “But the most important thing is constant surveillance.” Obstacles, such as gates and locks leading to the pool, are critical to keeping children out of danger.
“It’s layers of protection,” she emphasized. “Kids can drown in 30 seconds, so you just try to slow them down with as many barriers as possible.”
Bumblebee says survival swimming lessons can add precious time to saving a child.
“The goal is that when they accidentally fall into the water, they know how to get into a buoyancy position and buy you the 30 seconds to catch up,” she says.
Hughes hopes that talking about the risks of drowning and educating parents will reduce the number of drownings and destroyed families.
“Giving parents a chance to say, ‘Hey, this happened to this family, and this is a conversation starter,'” she said.
You can learn more about Levi’s Legacy and Infant Survival Swimming Lessons on the Health Matters blog.