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Drowning Of 6-Year-Old At Birthday Party Begs The Question: If Kids Can’t Swim, Should They Attend?

Photo: Sergey Novikov / Shutterstock / GoFundMe 
drowning, child, pool party, swimming

After a six-year-old boy who allegedly did not know how to swim drowned at a birthday party, the question of whether or not children who cannot swim should attend parties where there is a pool or swimming involved was raised. 

Now, parents are doing everything they can to ensure that their children are safe around water, and are raising awareness of just how quickly the unimaginable can happen in the most ordinary settings. 

Six-year-old Brantley Griffin lost his life after he drowned in a pool at a birthday party in Alabama. 

Griffin and his family attended a birthday party with 70 other children at J&J’s Place at the Springs, a campground and spring-fed pool in Coffee Springs, Alabama. At around 3:30 PM, his family realized that he was missing after last seeing him on a playground, per WDHN. 

Before deputies arrived on the scene, Griffin’s parents believed that the boy may have wandered into the surrounding woods and was either lost or abducted. 

Unfortunately, just after 6 PM, divers discovered Griffin’s lifeless body in the water of the spring-fed pool. 

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The little boy did not know how to swim. 

According to a press conference held the following day by the Geneva County Sheriff’s Department, Griffin reportedly did not know how to swim, and was wearing a flotation device around and in the water throughout the day. He was not wearing the device by the time he was discovered. 

After the sudden and tragic death of little Griffin, many people are wondering how such a thing could have happened in the first place, given that there were so many people at the party when the drowning occurred. 

However, a Geneva County Sheriff notes that the crowd may have played a significant role in the tragedy. 

“There were a lot of children there. There was a lot of activity going on,” Sheriff Tony Helms explained. “The more activity and the more people you have there, it is very easy to overlook or lose your child briefly. Just a small amount of time can lead to something like this.” 

The accident begs the question if children who cannot swim should be allowed to attend birthday parties with bodies of water. 

According to Face-Up First, a company that offers swimming lessons to young children, those who cannot swim should not attend pool birthday parties for their own safety. 

“Pool parties are for children who know how to swim...period,” their website reads. “Do not invite or allow children who cannot swim.  If everyone you want to invite cannot swim, plan something else.  If your child is not a skilled swimmer do not allow him/her to attend a pool party.” 

The company points out that birthday pool parties could be a great incentive for children to learn how to swim. 

If a child who can't swim expresses great interest in attending a party that involves swimming, it is crucial that they are supervised by a parent and that they are wearing a lifejacket at all times, even if they are not in the pool. It is also recommended that parent volunteers and lifeguards be recruited to monitor pools even during cake-cutting and gift exchanges to ensure that no child sneaks into the water. 

It only takes up to 20 seconds for a child to quietly slip beneath the surface of the water, and scarily enough, drowning can occur almost anywhere that is near water and is far more common than we think. 

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Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths among children. 

Each year in the United States, 3,572 people die in drowning accidents. 945 of them are children. For children ages 5–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes, per the CDC. 

The best way to prevent young children from drowning is by enrolling them in swim lessons early on, ensuring that if they should fall into the water, they will know how to keep afloat for as long as possible. Lessons will also diminish the fear of water. 

“I personally think the sooner the better,” Miss Moriah, a swim instructor at Swimobile shared about children starting swim lessons in a TikTok video.



“What happens is with kids that walk, is we see a lot of fear of the water as far as floating on their back. So I would recommend maybe three or four months old, somewhere around there.”

Parents should also never take their eyes off their little ones around the water, even for just a few seconds since most of the time, drowning is silent and goes unnoticed if children are not being supervised. 

Brantley Griffin’s family launched a GoFundMe page to cover funeral expenses. 

“Thank you to everyone who donated in the memory of Brantley. All arrangements have been made and paid for thanks to the generosity of you all,” Griffin’s Uncle Micheal shared in a Facebook post. 

“We are planning to stop the GoFundMe campaign and are now asking for your thoughts and prayers as we try to navigate forward as a heartbroken family.” 

Griffin was just a few days short of celebrating his seventh birthday. 

We are sending his family our deepest condolences, and hoping that his story sheds light on childhood drowning and how quickly it could happen to anyone. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.