Hey everyone. So for a start off here's a little about me . My name is Amber, I'm 28 and live in the suburb of Linwood in Christchurch.
Our property is rather long. We've had pools over the years with no issues, fully fenced with a safety latch. We took it down years ago before any of my following story happened. So we kind of let the backyard just be empty.
In our immediate backyard a couple of ponds were made and filled. None accessible to children due to tall pickets surrounding them. One pond was taken down and the mean one was made into a feature, with plants and stuff surrounding the water. This fence was also picketed with high and close together palings.
The pond was filled on August 31 2019 (Saturday). Now for the story.
Monday the 2nd September started like any other day. My two year old and 5ish month old got up. Fed, changed etc. It was a beautiful day. My two year old would wander from playing in his room to the lounge to outside where not only was the pond fenced but the whole property. I always go out with him due to his age and being a relatively new walker. Lunchtime came around. My son wanted nothing, he just wanted to play so that was fine, off he went. I made my younger son a bottle and checked my older son through the window. He was pretending to clean the fence, nowhere near the pond. So I fed my youngest his bottle. Took approx 2 minutes to feed him. Then outside I went to check on my oldest and see if he was hungry yet.
All I heard was silence.
I looked to my right and he wasn't playing near the fence so I looked to my left.
That moment my life ended. I saw my beautiful 2 year old boy floating in our pond. One of the pickets was on the ground and he had wiggled through and gotten in. All within two minutes.
I'll spare you all the details (although am okay to share with people if needed). I pulled him out and could not comprehend what was happening. The paramedics were there in under a minute. They worked on my son for ages. Next minute one of the senior paramedics comes out to me. And it was just like the movies, he knelt down and told me my son didn't make it.
I screamed and screamed until I collapsed. Then came to and did the same thing over and over. He had just had his 2nd birthday. I still couldn't comprehend what had just happened. How does this happen so fast ?!? The pond was fenced to what we believed a high standard. It came down to a screw loose in one of the pailings that's it.
I'll never have water on my property again. I'm so aware of it now its not funny.
My life now, all I want is to save other parents from this heartbreak. Several agencies now have a questionnaire around water for their clients which they didn't before.
I've had feedback of people emptying their water, checking the property and finding accumulations of water they didn't even think of. I've had people put more effort into watching their children in water and have had a near miss but since my story they were able to intervene before anything too serious happened.
I want to help as many people as I can understand the REAL dangers of water. Not just a second hand story.
RIP OLIVER LUCAS BAILEY
17.7.17 - 02.09.2019
A message from Water Safety New Zealand.
Thank you Amber for sharing your heart breaking story. Our sincere condolences. The loss of Oliver is devastating. Please know that we and our partners in the water safety sector are doing our utmost to help families be more aware of the dangers water pose to little ones.