Let me start this by saying I don't think our tragedy was "preventable." I believe that when the Lord calls you home it is more a matter of how than if or when. In our case, the series of events that led to this outcome were obviously orchestrated by a Master Planner to ensure that Camille could return home quickly and relatively painlessly without any one person feeling the blame.
Still, as parents we must do all we can to prevent accidents. For those of you who want to know what happened -- I will not share that. I have not shared it with any of my friends. I know many of you wonder. But, out of respect, I hope that you will not speculate or discuss the possibilities. The details are inconsequential and my reasons for not sharing are of paramount importance. It will help my whole family heal properly to leave those details in the past.
I know it is human nature to wonder, but please try to quench the curiosity and focus on the now. That is what I am trying to do. I am a better mother than I was before. I know more now. Knowledge is powerful. Knowledge combined with action can prevent many unnecessary accidents.
In an effort to share my hindsight knowledge, I will share some tips and information that could prevent this type of accident from happening to someone else.
Working Against Us:
First, I never would have had a pool without a self closing self locking gate on it. But I just didn't think a spa was the same because it has a cover. Our cover has locks that lock it down but they broke in a wind storm the week before Camille died. We had not gotten them fixed yet.
We were supposed to have an easy cover lift contraption to make it so the kids could put the cover back on by themselves when they got out. The company delivered the wrong kind and we had not gotten it exchanged yet.
My older girls are both good swimmers who took private swimming lessons for years in California. I didn't feel the need to play "lifeguard" for them in a spa with water only deep enough to come to their belly buttons.
What I know now:
1) No matter how watchful you are and no matter what measures you took to prevent escape, babies can get out of a house. If they can crawl, they can get out. Period. Expect that.
2) Any pool, spa, or pond needs a self closing, self locking gate around it. There will always be a time when it is uncovered between opening it and getting in and getting out and closing it.
3) It only takes a minute for a baby to drown.
4) If the pool or spa is open, an adult needs to be outside "lifeguarding" even if those swimming are good swimmers and even if no one is swimming, unless you have an unclimbable gate around the pool or spa that is closed and securely locked. This makes sure gates don't get propped open, heads don't get hit causing unconsciousness and probably a million other unforeseen events that could lead to drowning.
These are now our rules for the spa. I am pretty sure our other children have long missions on this side of the veil to perform. Using the new rules we have about lifeguarding and with our new self locking gate, I feel confident that their enjoyment of the spa will be safe, even for those totally unforeseeable times when the baby somehow escapes from the house.