The story behind WATER WATCH

This photo was taken during our trip to the beach during that 2007 Memorial Day Week

A few years ago while on our annual beach trip, I’d gone inside for a few minutes and when I came back out, my laid-back beach feeling turned into panic. There was an immediate sense something was really wrong. I noticed everyone along the shore was standing at the water’s edge looking out. Even though my husband, parents, sister and brother-in-law were out there, I frantically thought, “Where are my boys???”

Fortunately {for me}, they were safe. However, someone else was not. A teenager had been swept out and by the time help almost reached him {my husband and another man with boogie boards}, the boy went under. People were searching from up on decks, down on the jetties, along the shore – and were quickly joined by beach rescue on jet skis. Twenty minutes later, his lifeless body washed up against the jetties – almost 1,000 feet from where he went under. Watching his loved ones walk by us in one direction – while their loved one’s body was taken by ambulance in another – was the most gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever witnessed.

The rest of our time that week was a somber mix of feelings – from such sadness thinking about what that family was going through to wondering what we can do to keep our little ones safe around water. Part of what freaked me out was that even though there were a lot of us out on the beach, we did not specifically designated someone to “watch” when the boys were in the water. And seeing how quickly it can happen – and how it is nearly impossible to find someone once underwater.

My sister, mom and I came up with the idea of using a wristband {like the yellow, Live Strong ones} to designate who is in charge of keeping their eyes on the kids. {My mom coined it WATER WATCH – I’ve given you proper credit, Mom : ) And not just the beach – but for the pool when no lifeguard is on duty, a lake – or around any other form of water.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago…

My sister and I were on the phone talking about our trip {same place} we’d be taking soon. {She and her husband now have three kids {an almost three-year old and twin seven-month-olds (that’s why I just referred to it as “trip” not “vacation”) and my boys are now ten and seven.} We were feeling uneasy about the water thing {with the ocean out our front door and the creek out the back door}.  When I hung up, I said to myself, “This is just something I have to do.”

watch when wearing's WATER WATCH

Within an hour I’d found a vendor and the order was confirmed – and they have now arrived. If you would like more info on how to order one for your family or for others you know with kids, please click here. {Or you can go to my website, www.AngelaHarrisDesign.com, and click on the Water Watch tab.}

Comments about WATER WATCH:

“When there are a lot of people around, you often think, ‘everyone’s watching’ when the reality is, ‘no one is watching.” WATER WATCH ensures a specific person has been designated.”

“Often, the person asked to watch is distracted with a book or iPod. The WATER WATCH makes us aware of the transfer of responsibility with a physical reminder. Great idea.”

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Whether at the beach, near a lake, at a pool, designating {a responsible} someone specific to keep an eye on those in and around water is crucial.

SUPER IMPORTANT: If you go to the beach

While it’s so important to designate a water watcher, it’s vital to understand all the ways to be safe around water {more tips, here}. Unfortunately, a similar incident occurred down the beach from us a few years before the one above. A father had gone out to help his children {they think a rip current had caused them to lose their footing and/or get swept out} and the father and his son did not make it. So I wanted to put a special focus here on rip current safety, which account for 80% of ocean drownings. {Please note the dangers of trying to swim out to save someone in trouble.}

My husband and I watched this together and I’m going to watch it again with my kids before our next beach trip. {It’s about 9 minutes long but worth every bit of time you spend watching.}  Video: Watch this before going to the beach Also, here’s more rip current info: National Weather Service Rip Current Safety

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If you’d like to order a watch when wearing WATER WATCH wrist band, please click here.

Wishing for each of you a safe and wonderful summer.


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