Mother shares tragic story to stop childhood drownings

A MOTHER, who lost her toddler when he drowned in a Griffith swimming pool seven years ago, is determined to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to anyone else.

Tammie Lacey was travelling from Melbourne to Hillston with her son Jack to celebrate his second birthday with family when her life was changed forever.

Now, she has made it her mission to raise awareness and prevent tragedy from striking any other family.

"We arrived in Griffith at around 3am and my family had arranged for Jack and myself to stay with friends until daylight," she said.

"We both fell asleep quickly but Jack woke up at 6.30am, which was too early so I convinced him to get back into bed with me.

"Jack snuggled into me and I fell asleep.

"At 7am the people we were staying with could hear Jack playing in the bedroom but when they got out of the shower they could no longer hear him.

"That's when they noticed that the back glass sliding door was open."

Ms Lacey said her heart sank when she discovered the home had a swimming pool.

"When I ran out the back door and saw the gate open I knew that he had fallen in," she said.

"Jack was facedown in the pool, at that very second my world came crashing down. They think he was in the water for three minutes and those three minutes changed my world forever."

Paramedics and medical staff worked for 40 minutes to start Jack's little heart again.

He was flown to the Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick and spent his second birthday in an induced coma on life support.

After nine days, with the advice of specialists, Ms Lacey made the heart-breaking decision to turn Jack's life support off.

"He lived for three hours on his own," she said.

"You never get over it, you just learn to readjust.

"When you lose someone you question why.

"I now realise that this is what I'm meant to do knowing that I'm raising awareness keeps me going," she said.

Now living in Jervis Bay, Ms Lacey has created a Facebook page called "Jack's Gift", which tells his story and includes facts that surround childhood drownings.

She also has a petition in place to update NSW pool safety legislations.

While she doesn't often return to Griffith because the memories are too painful, she is aware that an 18-month-old girl drowned in December and that another came close two weeks ago in the channel near City Park.

"As far as I'm concerned if there is open water in a public place the whole area should be fenced," she said.

"I know people say that parents should be watching their kids, but you can not physically watch them 24 hours a day.

"It only took minutes for Jack to drown."

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