Water Safety: Bryan’s story

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Our special series of stories dealing with water safety continues and this time it’s personal.

Chief meteorologist David Young is sharing his story; a story about his son, a pool and a day he’ll never forget.

You would never know it if you passed Bryan Young on the campus of Lansing Community College.

Never know that 16 years ago he came so close to losing his life.

“I was very young at the time. So I don’t remember anything about the incident,” says Bryan Young.

It’s no wonder he doesn’t remember the events that unfolded that day. My son Bryan was like most 2 year old toddlers. He loved playing with toys, watching tv shows like barney the dinosaur, and exploring the world around him. Those are the things he was doing that fateful morning.

We were at my parents house in North Carolina. It’s a typical house in that area with a fenced back yard.

At that time i worked for WTVD, the ABC affiliate in the Raleigh/Durham market.

I was working the weekend morning and evening shifts so it wasn’t uncommon for me to take a nap in the late morning and that’s where I was.

Bryan was with his mom and grandmother playing downstairs.

It was warm outside, so the back door was open.

Bryan would often walk back and forth from the den to the locked back porch. Or so we thought.

He managed to open the screened door and make his way to the pool.

As fate would have it a ball had blown into the pool.

Being the ambitious 2 year old he was, the water 10 feet deep, wasn’t going to stop him from getting it.

Unfortunately, he tried to get it and slipped in.

It all happened in a matter of minutes.

But it’s a father’s worst nightmare.

Once Bryan’s mother realized he was missing, she followed her instincts out to the pool, where she found Bryan floating face down, motionless.

I remember that day like yesterday. I woke up to blood-curdling screaming, the kind where you just know something’s seriously wrong.

Luckily, both Bryan’s mother and my mom got him breathing again.

I came running out and after a mad dash to the hospital with Bryan, we were given great news.

He didn’t take in any water and other than a mild case of hypothermia, he was going to be okay.

Today Bryan is studying 3D animation at LCC with hopes of working on graphics for a gaming company.

Although that day 16 years ago is blurry to him, he says the take-away for parents is clear.

“Teach your kids to swim yourself or take them to some kind of swim class because any moment you take your eyes off of your kids they can be in any kind of trouble like if they fall in the pool,” urges Bryan Young. “And if they do fall into the pool you want them to know how to swim. So they can keep themselves from drowning until you get there.”

I’ve got 3 kids. 2 boys and my daughter.

Bryan was our first child and the whole experienced taught me an important lesson.

Never ever assume anything.

Just because you think you’ve taken precautions like locking a screened door, it doesn’t mean they are safe, especially around water. And as my son Bryan says, it’s not a bad idea to teach your kids to swim at as soon as they are ready. You can’t prevent danger but you can mitigate it.

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