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'Don't let it be you': Mom who almost lost son to drowning talks prevention as the summer heats up

Danielle Bohm started "Chase's Challenge," a nonprofit that helps people learn water safety and teaches CPR, in honor of her son.

CARMEL, Ind. — The neighborhood pool or any body of water can be wonderful on a hot summer day.  

The perfect day at the pool or lake, though, can turn into a family’s worst nightmare very easily.  

Experts say drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in kids ages 1-4 and it can happen quickly, within 20 seconds.

“I’m the lucky one. I know that,” said Danielle Bohm as she makes dinner for her family on a Monday night in her kitchen at the family’s home in Carmel. 

The moment is precious to Danielle because she knows it came close to never happening. Four years ago, her youngest son, Chase, who was three at the time, fell in a friend’s pool. 

“I ran outside and saw my husband performing CPR on my 3-year-old son that was blue and lifeless,” Danielle recalled, saying she never imagined this could happen to her family. 

It did though. 

“It was me. It could be you. Don’t let it be you,” warned Danielle. 

Credit: Danielle Bohm
Danielle Bohm created Chase's Challenge in honor of her son, who nearly drowned when he was three years old.

Today, Chase is perfectly healthy and takes swimming lessons, but Danielle will never forget what happened. 

She’s reminded all the more when she heard the story about an 8-year-old Grant County boy who died after falling in a pool. His 6-year-old brother, who fell in too, is still hospitalized. 

“My heart goes out to them and everyone that’s been through this,” said Danielle, who created Chase’s Challenge, a non-profit that helps people learn water safety and teaches CPR.

RELATED: Grant County boy dies after falling into pool, brother still recovering

“Parents need to know what to do if a drowning takes place and the number one thing is effective CPR care,” said Adam Katchmarchi, the executive director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. 

Katchmarchi said the more layers of protection you have, the better your chances are of not experiencing a drowning tragedy. 

Layers can include fencing and locked gates with alarms around pools, hard pool covers, learning to swim, wearing a life vest in the water if you can’t swim and designating someone to watch kids in the pool, someone who won’t be talking or on their phone. 

“Drowning is an accident. No one plans on this happening,” said Katchmarchi. 

Bohm and her family certainly didn’t and they hope others won’t have to either. 

“You just think, ‘It’s not going to be me. I’m a great parent,’” she said. “That’s not what it comes down to. It comes down to accidents happen to anyone, even great parents."

Keep in mind, drowning dangers aren't limited to young children.

The National Safety Council says drowning is the second-leading cause of preventable deaths for kids as old as 15 years old. The council has an online pledge you can sign and you'll get a free pool safety toolkit in exchange.

Their website also has lists of safety tips and prevention measures you can take around the water.

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