18-month old escapes parents, swims off to sea
The incident has been said as a "freakish miracle" by the Holiday Camp's co-owner.
Toddlers are curious little beings: they like to wander around and are fearless in the face of unknown danger. However, they are smarter than you think. Sometimes, they can navigate through common child-proofing mechanisms—with dangerous consequences, especially when near a beach. Here’s how one baby managed to slip by his parent’s tent, nearly ending up as a drowning baby in the sea.
The doll that “let out a little squeak”
In a rare miracle, a New Zealand fisherman managed to save an 18-month-old drowning baby in the sea.
Gus Hutt, a holiday camper, was catching fish. At one point, he noticed a tiny body bobbing in the water.
At first, he believed what he saw was a doll. It was only when the “doll” actually “let out a little squeak” that Gus became aware that it was a drowning baby.
Apparently, the drowning baby boy ran away from his parents’ tent, and went to the sea instead.
“[Even as] I reached out and grabbed him by the arm, I still thought it was a doll,” said Mr Hutt. “His face looked just like porcelain with his short hair wetted down, but then he let out a little squeak and I thought, ‘oh God, this is a baby and it’s alive’.”
“He just wasn’t meant to go”
On the 26th of October, Mr Hutt had walked to a beach near his Holiday Camp. The Herald reports that Mr Hutt normally goes to the beach to catch fish directly from his camp. However, that day, he settled on a different area instead: 100m towards the left of the usual.
Following a quick look at his fishing lines, Mr Hutt noticed the boy, afloat. He says that the drowning baby had been “floating at a steady pace”. Mr Hutt would have missed the drowning baby had he been even one minute late.
“He was bloody lucky, but he just wasn’t meant to go, it wasn’t his time,” says Mr Hutt.
Drowning baby safely reunited with parents
Sue, Mr Hutt’s wife, notified camp staff. They told the senior couple that only another couple among the campers had a little one with them. Emergency services were also notified.
According to Rebecca Salter, part owner of the Holiday Camp, the drowning baby boy “was very excited to be on the beach”. Furthermore, she adds, “it was the couple’s first night” and “first time” residing in Murphy’s Camo.
Salter also added that after Mr Hutt noticed the toddler, he brought him to the camp staff, who “wrapped him up in towels” while Sue went to tell the little one’s parents that he was found.
Apparently, the adventurous toddler got away from his parents’ tent by opening the zipper. He then went to the ocean.
As you can imagine, the little one’s parents were beyond relieved to be reunited with their little boy.
“It came as a shock to everyone. It was a very, very lucky result… it could have been a very tragic incident,” said Mrs Salter. “It’s a freakish miracle.”
We are happy to report that local police confirmed that the drowning baby was healthy and unharmed.
Drowning baby signs and symptoms
Moms and dads, we know that keeping our kids safe around water is important, and we do what we can to keep them from further danger. But do we even know how to identify a drowning baby?
Unlike what movies show us, drowning isn’t dramatic with exaggerated displays of flailing one’s arms, coupled with plashing in the water and screaming. It could be silent and over in an instant.
Even if your kids can swim, the danger of drowning is still there – especially at sea. Here are some ways to identify when your child is in danger of drowning:
- It looks as though they’re climbing an invisible ladder
- Your child’s head is tipped backwards while his mouth remains open—no, it’s not a trick to float on water.
- Their eyes appear glossed, as if they can’t focus
- Your child’s eyes are closed—a red flag especially if they’re not moving in the water
- When they’re sinking downwards and not using their legs
- Gasping and hyperventilation (that is, breathing rapidly)
- Tries to roll over on their backs
It’s easy to panic – and even become paralyzed with fear – when our child is in danger. However, as parents, we can definitely protect them from harm’s way if we can stay alert to their responses.
Republished with permission from The Asian Parent Singapore