Entertainment And News

Mom Shares Photo Of Late-Son's Last Day Of Life As A Warning To Other Parents

Photo: Instagram
Levi Hughes

A mother on Instagram shared the tragic story about her 3-year-old son’s last day of life in the hopes that other parents around the world would take heed of her warning and prevent any more of these kinds of deaths from happening.

The photo is of her son happily floating around inside of her family’s pool with “puddle jumper” floatation devices wrapped around his arms — the last photos she has of his life.

Nicole Hughes’s 3-year-old son, Levi, drowned inside of their family pool while she wasn’t looking.

“I genuinely thought I was doing everything right when it came to water safety,” reads her caption on Instagram.

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“I did not understand that children aged 1 to 4 are at the highest risk of drowning and that they most often drown when they reach water during a time they are not supposed to be swimming.”

The photo that she posted of his final moments came from a still of a video where he was “bobbing up and down in a puddle jumper.”

“This time-stamped video, counting down the precious minutes we had left until he would end up in this very same pool, less than two hours later,” she explains. “But the second time was without the puddle jumper.”

She explains why she’s sharing this information on Instagram at all when she should be grieving the loss of her child, but her reason is a noble one.

Nicole’s hoping that if the people of Instagram read her message, then there won’t be any more Levi’s in the world who lost their lives because they trusted the water.

“Puddle Jumpers use claims like ‘learn to swim device,’ yet no aquatic instructors endorse them, instead stating that they hinder development,” she writes. “Puddle Jumpers claim ‘US Coast Guard approved’ but fail to mention that the USCG NEVER approves items for use IN POOLS, only for use on boats.”

She’s claiming that Puddle Jumpers do not actually help children learn how to swim and that the reason her son died is that he thought he could due to the product’s misleading purpose.

“Of course, the real devastation— beyond the delays in learning to swim caused by Puddle Jumpers and the marketing lies to drive sales— the heartbreaking reality is they create a false sense of security and teach toddlers to trust the water. My 3 year old falsely believed he could swim,” she said.

Nicole has started working with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) on a campaign to stop the spread of misinformation from these companies.

In it, they’ve created a letter asking retailers to reconsider the way that they market their products in order to prevent parents from thinking they’re giving their kids the best shot at learning how to swim.

They ask you to sign their letter in order to help the cause and raise awareness while also providing resources on their website to prevent your own children from falling into the same trap that others have.

The NDPA website also shares some statistics to show you just how serious of a problem it is — how drowning is the single leading cause of death of children ages 1-4 and how it can happen within 30 seconds because children don’t know how to hold their breath.

“If a child does not make it to kindergarten, the most likely cause of death is drowning?” she finishes her post. “We owe it to our children to be brave enough to accept this fact and do something about it.”

Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.