Milford family credits early swim training for saving toddler’s life

Drowning is the leading cause of death among children under 4... and it’s often completely silent.
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 9:37 PM EDT
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MILFORD, Ohio (WXIX) - The parents of a toddler say their child is lucky to be alive after a near-drowning incident. Now they’re praising a specific type of training they say saved the toddler’s life.

The Merk family says they were having a cookout near a pool when their son, Lucian, fell in. That’s when Lucian’s swim rescue training kicked in.

Jimi Merk says Lucian was being supervised by at least six people standing around the pool and that Lucian fell in during that one brief moment where he happened to be out of sight.

“Didn’t hear a splash,” Bridgetta Tomarchio said. “Didn’t hear anything, and he’s in the pool.”

Tomarchio says Jimi’s daughter, who was fighting with her brother at the other end of the pool, happened to catch Lucian in the pool out of the corner of her eye.

Kim Magella has taught swim rescue training for 25 years. She’s also Lucian’s swim instructor.

“Drowning is actually the leading cause of death for children under the age of 4 in the whole country,” Magella said, adding what happened to Lucian is relatively common.

“People think that it’s going to be a big splash and they’ll hear a child holler for help, but that’s not the case. It’s very silent.”

Magella says the earlier kids learn these skills, the safer they’ll be around water.

“We can teach children as young as 6 months to be able to self-rescue,” she said.

Lucian’s parents say the training and their other children saved his life.

“If he had sank, nobody would have known,” Jimi said. “He would have been underwater. The kids would have been playing. We would have been busy.”

They understand not every family can afford swim classes like this, so they’re going to take a portion of their business proceeds to help other kids gain access to classes.

If you’re interested in donating or applying for help through the Merk family’s business, you can do so here.

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