Saturday, June 5, 2010

{ Stewie the Duck - Drowning Prevention }

This review touched my heart like no other.

Being a mother of two who are just learning to swim, it is one of my biggest fears.....drowning.

With drowning as the second leading cause of death among children ages one to 14, it is crucial that parents understand the importance of water safety…especially with warmer weather right around the corner.

Even if you don't read anything else in this post, I want you to please take the time to read the following information, it is imperative that we are informed and aware.

  • Children of all children aged 1 to 4 who died in 2005, almost 30% died from drowning. Drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children aged 1 to 14 years.
Where do children drown?

esidential swimming pools account for most drownings of children aged 1 to 4 years.

Children who drown in residential pools had been:

  • last seen inside their home

  • gone for less than 5 minutes; and

  • in the care of either or both parents at the time.

Children aged 1 to 4 are most likely to drown in home swimming pools.


Yes it's shocking and it rocks me to the core, but it's fact and it's something that happens all the time.

Now before I tell you about the book I received, let me give you some background on it:

On January 1, 1989, a 21-month old toddler, Stew Leonard III (Stewie), lost his life in a tragic accident when he ventured unnoticed into a pool to grab a birthday balloon. Within minutes, Stewie’s family realized he was missing and searched the house, only to find a yellow T-shirt floating in the pool. His father dove in to save him and perform CPR…but it was too late. Stewie had drowned. Since that heart-breaking day, the Leonard family pledged that they would do everything in their power to prevent this tragedy from striking other families. Stew Leonard, Jr. and his wife Kim set up the “Stew Leonard III Water Safety Foundation” to promote water safety awareness.

Beginning in 1990, the foundation has raised more than a million dollars to help provide swimming lessons and safety equipment for kids through local YMCAs and SwimAmerica. Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities also has published two illustrated and interactive children’s books on water safety: Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim and Swimming Lessons with Stewie the Duck, a Spanish version of which is also available – El Patito Stewie Aprende a Nadar. Information about the foundation may be found at

Also, here are some startling stats that emphasize importance of water safety awareness:

  • · Drowning is the most common cause of death in children under five years old.
  • · More than half of the drowning accidents among children under four years of age occur in friends’ or neighbors’ pools.
  • · Most young children who have drowned in a pool were out of sight for less than five minutes and were in the care of one or both parents at the time. [The problem is often not a lack in supervision, but a lapse in supervision.]
  • · And each year, almost 300 children ages five and under drown in swimming pools, while another 3,700 children in this age group are treated for near-drowning in hospital emergency rooms.


Shocked yet? Do I have your attention?

It's extremely hard for a mother to read things like this and know that it could happen to one of your own children. It breaks my heart and it brings me to tears just imagining the pain these parents go through and though I don't know what the future brings, I can do my best to ensure that a tragedy like this does not befall my family.

With Summer being here we have been enjoying the pool....a LOT. I'm always there watching them, making sure that they are being safe and not messing around. Problem is that it takes but a minute for something to go wrong, so I watch them like a hawk....constantly.

It was during one of our days in the pool that I heard a knock at the door and received a package from Perfect timing!


The kids were thrilled and wanted to read the book right away, so that is what I did, while they sat in the water, I read the book.


I have to give Kudos to the Leonard family for turning their loss into a way of saving lives.

My kids loved the book and the CD included, especially the song that is prominent throughout the book, to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".

If you have little ones, I highly recommend buying this book or the other one Swimming Lessons with Stewie the Duck of which a spanish version is also available.


Heart2Heart said...


Now that summer is here, I think this is a perfect way to begin the season with a lesson in safety. Even those small child pools can pose that same threat.

I hope you stop by my newest blog and join as a follower. I'd love to have you!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Conny said...

sounds good to me! My kids have never had formal swim lessons & I regret not taking the time to do that ... but they are learning to swim & be confident in the water on their own - but as a mom, I want to be sure I teach them the SAFE WAY to approach water...

Also, looks like you have the same pool we do!! :) We just got ours (I think you saw it on my blog)'s AWESOME!

Super Mom Academy said...

Thanks, this is great and needed. Despite all the money I have spent on private swimming lesson my little guy is much more interested in the pretty girl teaching.

This summer we are going to ask for a male teacher and I will order this book when I order my 5 minute bread making book.

peace and popcorn


momof4as said...

Here you are on the other side of the country and I was so surprised to see you have this book! It is well known where I am, Stew Leonard's is a famous and well-loved supermarket chain (well, there are 3 or 4) in our area. And here's your odd bit of trivia for the day... my mother is buried just kitty-corner from the poor little guy.

Anyway, I am here to second your opinion that it is a great book and water safety is so important! Thanks for sharing!

Linds said...

I meant to post this yesterday, Sandra - my daughter nearly drowned when she was just 3. But she didn't, and I took her to swimming lessons immediately. She was young, but loved them, and was a fish within weeks. However, the point I wanted to make was this..... her swimming instructor had been teaching for years and years, and during the lesson, the kids were never allowed to get out using the stairs. They had to learn how to climb out over the side. And at the end of the lesson, he tossed them in the pool. They could all swim, let me add. The reason he did this was, as he said, 99% of kids drown because they fall into the pool, come up and see the OTHER side of the pool, and don't realise that there is a wall right behind them. They drown trying to reach the other side. What he did, was train them to instinctively hit the water, turn, grab the edge, and get out by climbing straight out. Within a few days, Diana had it sussed, and she ended up being a champion. She swam for her schools and was outstanding. Just thought the advice is definitely worth sharing, even with parents of older kids. Hit the water, and come up, turn round and get out. So important.

Linds said...

I am taking over your comment section. She nearly drowned in a pool with her 7 year old brother swimming and her Dad in the water too. It can happen. At home. I came back from shopping went out to the garden and saw her underwater , started screaming and running, and got to her the same time her Dad and brother did and she was fine. Divine intervention in a huge way.

nomoredrownings said...

Swimming lessons are very important, but if you have a pool, permanent or inflatable, make sure to have an isolation fence between your home and pool, with an effective self-closing, self-latching gate. And never prop open a gate--a few seconds of inconvenience is well-worth it to avoid a lifetime of pain. For the inexpensive inflatables, if you can’t afford a fence, empty the pool after each use. Recycle the water on your plants, grass and trees rather than let it go down a drain.

Full disclosure: Although I worked in hospitals for 20+ years (15 in children's hospitals), I now work as Communications Mgr. for a company that manufactures the MagnaLatch pool gate latch, D&D Technologies. But I came to them already convinced of the value of isolation fencing, having started my first pool safety network in 1991, when I was PR Director of Children's Hospital of Orange County. I founded the National Drowning Prevention Alliance in 2004. (See
I am a grandma of 7, and I wouldn't think of having the kids over if I didn't have a fence around my pool. You just cannot watch a toddler 24/7.
Let me know if you have questions regarding any aspect of pool safety, and thanks for letting me comment here. If anyone is interested in testing the MagnaLatch and blogging about the experience, let me know -

Sheila said...

I was out with family one day when I was about 5--we went to our local beach. I was on a raft and thought I was close to shore so I jumped off--needless to say, I was much further out than I thought. It took a bit before anyone realized the raft was empty--I would not be here today if my stepsister had not seen the tips of my fingers come up out of the water. I would hit the bottom and push off to get back up--by the time she got out there, I was no longer able to get even my fingertips above the water. Thank God for Tami or I wouldn't be here. Any way--long story even longer--I am terrified of water to this day and don't even like to have my head under the shower. I wish my parents had insisted on me learning how to swim but they didn't and I am so scared of it nowadays that I have a panic attack if I try to get in a pool. It is mandatory for graduation in some of the school districts we lived in to be able to swim. Thanks for sharing such invaluable information--especially at this time of year.