On the heels of water safety awareness last month – we ran across a story on Facebook, about the fast acting, calm and life saving actions of Alyssa DeWitt – a 5 month old pregnant Manistee mom of 3 who had plans to take her kids to the beach.
It was windy and she thought about not going. Her boyfriend suggested she not, but she did and the beach was exactly where she needed to be.
She went to the beach and after they were there for a few minutes she noticed the 4 girls getting into the water and thought to herself, “wow, they’re getting pretty far out there for the conditions today…” Within 5 minutes they were struggling. Recognizing they were in trouble, she directed her kiddos to sit tight and without hesitation went into full blown mom-mode.
Alyssa DeWitt, in the form of a Mama-bear, Superwoman and a lifesaver all showed up at the beach that day! So many things came to mind and Alyssa graciously shared more about that day with GLAMoms!
Do you remember the first thing you said when you reached your children after the girls you assisted were safe?
I’m not sure I said anything honestly Everyone was sobbing, including myself! The hugs were endless. I just started checking kids over right away trying to get everyone to sit so I could make sure everyone was accounted for and okay, my own kids and the girls I pulled out. There were some minor scrapes and bruises and one of the girls already had an injured leg to begin with so I was worried she hurt it more.
The police and ambulance showed up almost immediately after everyone was out of the water so they took over quickly and made sure everyone was okay!
You did as first responders are taught, survey the scene, assure your own safety and assist – and do not go in the water (if possible) – Do you have formal training or ever a lifeguard? Swam competitively or other additional means to gain water know how? I have zero water safety experience whatsoever! I actually am not a fan of water at all. I tend to stray away from the lakes and pools, I’d rather sit and watch!
What sort of work do you do?
I currently am a stay at home momma, but I’ve worked with kids since I was able to work! And I believe that’s where my patience, calm demeanor, knowing how to react in that situation came from. Working with handfuls of kids at a time, you get really good at scanning the room, counting heads, and you always have to be prepared if something unexpected goes wrong!
Are there any words of wisdom you would share with yourself if you could whisper something in your own ear that day?
I would probably tell myself to breathe. As much as I feel that I stayed calm for the circumstances of the situation and did what I needed to do, I was still in a state of panic – haha. 🙂 In between my attempts of helping/pulling I’m sure the words coming out of my mouth were not pleasant if I remember correctly 😀 so yes for sure, If I could go back I would have told myself to take a deep breath.
I also might have told myself to scan the pier farther down for a life ring. I didn’t think to look for one, but I honestly don’t think I would have had time to look and find one either. If I didn’t do something the moment I did, they weren’t going to make it. They were exhausted.
After reading your story, it seems like you were put there that day to do exactly what you did. We are so glad there are mommas out there who look after other’s babes – you are the epitome of a village 🙂
I definitely believe I was meant to be there! It’s been quite an awakening for myself! I’ve had a lot of time to think about the what if’s and other potentially devastating outcomes of that day… We are all so very thankful that everything worked out the way it did.
You have surely heard this repeatedly the past few weeks – but you really are a wonderful human and I hope if given a situation we could not control, we at least would stay calm to work through it.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate all of the love I’ve been receiving. It’s been insane but I’m very thankful.
American Red Cross has swim safety information as a reminder of some basics as we prepare to spend more and more time in the water.
After we discovered Alyssa’s story we asked Goldfish Swim School in Okemos about water safety and Melody Kaiser, Assistant General Manager shared, “The number one thing parents should do to assure water safety is enroll in year-round swimming lessons! Often parents will want to take a break from lessons during the summer months because they’ll be on the lake or by their home pool more, which is exactly why it’s so important to keep up on those safety skills practiced in lessons.”
Melody added, “Lifejackets are a must when visiting any body of water and the more brightly colored the bathing suit, the easier it is to see your kiddos! Pick fun, brightly colored swimsuits and try to avoid blues/greys,” and, “Children should never swim alone! Designate an adult water guardian to watch the kids anytime they’re in, or near, water to ensure distraction free supervision at all times!”
Lake Michigan is beautiful and full of year round fun – but she can be so, so unpredictable. Thankfully Alyssa was exactly where she was that day.
And The Local Moms Network will be speaking with skier and water safety advocate Bode Miller about water safety – be sure to check back for more water safety information!