Kids and Water Safety

A Potomac mother shares the story of her son's nonfatal drowning. Find out what she's doing to promote CPR training and prevent drownings.



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Photo by Skip Brown

The day was heating up that morning in Bethany Beach as Laura and Matt Metro tried to figure out when each could squeeze in a run. They’d arrived a few days earlier from Potomac with their 3-year-old son, Clay, and 6-year-old daughter, Maison, to spend a week at Laura’s father’s house while he was on an Alaskan cruise. Laura liked to take Champ, her dad’s Akita pit bull mix, with her on runs into town to burn off the dog’s excess energy.

The Metros consider themselves “water people”—they’re always at the pool or the beach, or boating and fishing on the Potomac River—and the June 2011 trip was one of many visits to Bethany to enjoy time with family and friends. Another couple had joined them at the beach house, and their two young daughters were playing with Clay and Maison. “Just go take the dog,” one of Laura and Matt’s friends suggested. “We’ll take the kids to the pool and we’ll see you in 45 minutes.”

Laura and Matt headed out, agreeing to meet everyone at the pool when they got back. After their run, they were approaching the pool grounds in the middle of the development’s cul-de-sac when Maison ran frantically out of the entrance.

“I think Clay died!” she screamed. “I think Clay died!”

Hot and sweaty from her run, Laura couldn’t process what her daughter was saying. Then she heard her friend screaming, too, telling them to let go of the dog and “run, just run.”

Laura and Matt raced into the pool area and then toward the deep end, where Clay was lying on the deck. Matt’s close friend from high school was attempting CPR on the small boy after pulling him from the bottom of the pool. Their son was blue and lifeless.

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