When a child drowns

child drowns

Dear Keyboard Warriors,

I wish that you could for one minute walk a day in my shoes. Pick the shoes, boots, sand shoes, sandals, high heels, cowgirl boots- no matter what shoes you pick you will be a grieving, saddened and sometimes hysterical person wishing life was different.

In 2007 I was changing the nappy of my son, who had a temperature and near seizure that morning due to his illnesses. My daughter, intelligently used a chair, carried it about 11m to the pool fence of our house on the enclosed verandah, opened up our locked pool fence and jumped into the icy waters. You have no idea of the trauma it leaves in your head, the smells of CPR, the failure and torture of online critics telling me I could do better, Remember just one day in my boots okay.

We had to get others to tell our then teenager children that their little sister was dead. They idolised her after 12 years of secondary infertility. Our son, all of 17 months old, shut down and become mute for nearing two years. I was so depressed and ridiculed by guilt, the public condemnation that I tried to take my life. I was spat on my people in the street the week after her funeral. Still want to wear my boots? Daily for the past 8 years I have been riddled with the guilt and the burdens of child preventable death. DROWNING. I have put my heart and soul publicly to educate on the risks and change laws to save kids lives. STILL want my boots? because I hate being so public.


Your keyboard words right now cut to the core of my heart, cuts the core of so many many parents living this incredible nightmare. Hearing of another drowning loss I cry still, its only been 8 years but my baby and these parents and their babies and their relationships are now severed by water-never to be touched or kissed again. I hope you’d have taken my boots by now but I gather you are attempting a pathetic response in reply. These families need your support, because they could be YOU. Drowning happens to anyone who lets their guard down or gets caught by the environment and we do not know the circumstances of the drowning. Unless you are living it and were there you have no right to comment.

Think before you post something because drowning happens to loving parents, who care and nurture their children, do everything they can in their utmost to protect them. Even with swimming lessons and CPR skills it wasn’t enough to save them.

Supervision is eyes on your kids at all times but as a mother of five I understand how incredibly hard that is. I will live forever with this failure that I didn’t do my job but i don’t need some idiot keyboard warrior in their perfect world telling me all about my life when they are too gutless to wear my shoes for even just one day.

Kat Plint is a mother of five an an advocate for water safety. She is the founder, Hannah’s Foundation, Australia’s only support charity helping families recover from water tragedies. To support or donate visit www.hannahsfoundation.org.au

*all photos courtesy of K & A Plint.


7 thoughts on “When a child drowns

  1. Shannon

    How horrid that someone dared spit on you. I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss. My wish for is that one day the shoes on your feet will feel lighter. Your daughter lives on in you and in the hard work you’re now doing to help others.

  2. Nanette Gilbert

    The loss of a child would be too hard to bare. My heart goes out to every parent who has lost a child. How dare anyone judge or make any comment as we all do our very very best to protect our child from the moment of conception. I pray that in time your loss will somehow get easier but try to hang on to the fact that your darling girl is now your guardian angel and is with God. She would want you to continue your journey of that of being the mum that you have always been and reach out to others where and when you can. May God bless you and yours always.

  3. Leah

    oh Kat, I am so truly, deeply sorry that this terrible tragedy happened to you – let alone you being shunned over it.
    I have no words, just tears.

  4. tammie lacey

    Kat all that we do is for the love of our angels, my heart breaks everytime another is lost. To walk in our shoes has unfortunately bought us together, but through this i’ve learnt strength from people like you keep me going. Always my love and thoughts are with you xx

  5. Katie

    I’m so sorry for your loss. May your beautiful daughter Rest in Peace.

    As a mother of four, I completely understand when you mentioned how busy it is! I have a 5yo, 4yo, 19mo and 3mo! My thoughts and prayers are with you and other families who are dealing with this.

    I can’t believe people would shun you for you something that could easily happen to anyone else.

    This could easily happen to me!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, it’s definitely opened my eyes!

    So much love to you & your family!

  6. Leanne

    So sorry for your loss and horrifed to think of the treatment you have received. Even a responsible loving caring parent can’t have eyes on every child 24hrs a day. This was a tragic accident. Xx

  7. Lorena

    I dont know how you found strenght to wake up every day. I admire you because in spite of what happened to your family you kept taking care and loving your other 4 children. I wish there was a magical pill to take away the pain and guilt and to help you remember every day that you did your best and fatalities are part of life.


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