Family Uses Tragedy to Teach Pool Safety

DELTA, OHIO -- All it takes is a second for a child to get out of sight. One Delta family knows that first-hand, and is using their personal tragedy to teach others.  Jeff and Jill Albring's two-year-old son, Nathaniel, nearly drowned in the family swimming pool, and now, a year later, they have a message of safety for all parents: Safeguard your pool.

Eight-year-old Matthew Albring and six-year-old Logan Albring jumped into the family's above ground pool Monday. Seconds later, an alarm sounded. "It was a tough decision to keep the pool open, but the only way we were going to do that was if we made some drastic changes so we installed alarms, one for the gate and one for the pool," said Jeff.

On June 2, 2005, the Albring's lives changed forever. "We thought, you know, we were safe by having a gate," said Jeff. But they weren't. The gate leading to their pool was unlocked, and Nathaniel, who was just 2-years-old at the time, got past it. "I ran up, and I just looked at the pool and there was no movement, but I thought okay, I'll just go and check I'll pull the cover back, and he (Nathaniel) was in the pool," said Jill.

Jeff will never forget the call he got from his wife that day. He said, "I could sense the fear in her voice. She said you need to come home, something terrible has happened to Nathaniel. He fell into the pool, and it doesn't look good." Nathaniel was flown by helicopter to the hospital. Doctors didn't think he would make it, but Nathaniel beat the odds and survived.

A year later, three-year-old Nathaniel is confined to a wheelchair and has severe brain damage. He also has vision problems and has to be fed through a feeding tube. His parents hope parents implement safeguards around swimming pools before it's too late. "You can't imagine this ever happening to you, but there are so many ways kids could get into a pool," said Jill.

Pool alarms cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars. There are even wrist bands on the market that a child can wear that also work as alarms. It takes only two inches of water for a child to drown. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in kids five and under, and most of the time, these fatalities happen at home.

Posted by AEB