Drowning Prevention Advocate Nicole Hughes Story


Drowning prevention advocate, Nicole Hughes of Levi’s Legacy, who has been featured in multiple national news outlets including the Today Program, the New York Times and Parents magazine will bring her message of drowning awareness to Northern Nevada.

After losing her 3-year-old son Levi during a family beach vacation, Hughes founded Levi’s Legacy and partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to promote awareness of the realities of drowning. Her work led to a redrafting of the AAP policy statement regarding drowning prevention, and she was their keynote speaker for the 2019 AAP Forum. She promotes layers of prevention to safeguard children during non-swim times as well as stressing the importance of swimming lessons and constant adult supervision.

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Hughes explained, “Even though there were six physicians present that day, 12 adults and 17 children, our son drowned. He slipped out of a room, down a flight of stairs and fell into the pool. “She wants children to take swimming courses with a water survival component; she is wary of puddle jumpers — popular life jackets that hold a child upright — which she believes can convince children they will float. Most of all, she says, she wants to see a cultural change around our attitude toward water safety, as has happened with the “Back to Sleep” education program and with car seat and seat belt use.

Knowing the stats

Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause in ages 1-14.  69% of children who drown are not expected to be swimming, yet they are found in water. A child can drown in less than one minute; in their attempt to cry out they fill their lungs with water.  Hughes knows these facts all too well. “There is a misconception that drowning only happens when you are swimming. Drowning can also happens when you are 200 feet away from a pool, upstairs, eating Cheetos, wearing your neon yellow crab-hunting shirt, when you leave your mom’s side, even though you are usually Velcro to her. Drowning isn’t splashing and yelling. It is silent, and it takes SECONDS.”

RESOURCE: Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts