Country singer Granger Smith's 3-year-old died from drowning: What all parents need to know

The country world is mourning the death of singer Granger Smith's young son, River, after a tragic drowning accident at the family's home in Austin, Texas, it was revealed on Friday.

News of the 3-year-old's death was shared by his heartbroken parents this week. 

"We’ve lost our youngest son, River Kelly Smith. Following a tragic accident, and despite doctor’s best efforts, he was unable to be revived," the country singer wrote. "Amber and I made the decision to say our last goodbyes and donate his organs so that other children will be given a second chance at life."

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Granger Smith and his son, River Kelly
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Granger Smith and his son, River Kelly
Happy Mother’s Day from all squinty-eyed 5 of us 😆❤️🌸 #thesmiths #partyof5 #mothersday2019
On to Kinder! Hello Summer! ☀️ 💦 🎢🏝 #prekgrad
Someone is 3 today! Happy birthday to our fearless, tractor and Lightening McQueen loving, red-headed, dare devil! He keeps us laughing, definitely keeps me on my toes, gives the best hugs and is as sweet as honey! We love our little Riv 💚🍩🧁 🚗 🚜 🎉
Enjoying daddy being home and Texas rain 🌧 #smithpartyof5
Happy Mother’s Day mamas! The most incredible, selfless, crazy, beautiful, tiring, fulfilling, wonderful job there is. Celebrate your own moms today, whether they are here or in Heaven, celebrate your kids, and celebrate yourself. We all think we are failing sometimes, but you were chosen to be their mama and you’re doing a great job! Love them like crazy, teach them, play with them, guide them and give yourself grace from time to time. None of us have this mothering thing quite figured out, despite how it may look sometimes on social media. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be the best mom YOU can be! Have a wonderful day! 🌸☺️🥰 #happymothersday
Shhh... we have a discount code to turn your photos into bright, cool ones like these! Check out my highlights labeled Shop!. #presets #thedigigirls 📸
Just sharing some cuteness for your Thursday night 😍🥰
Our Easter was a little crazy. The kids woke up way too early, had too much candy, fought and cried a lot today. I struggled. While everyone is posting their adorable Easter photos in matching attire, here is ours, in the woods, on the go cart Granger built for the kids today on no sleep. I ran out in the woods to take one as a family because I knew if I waited, there wouldn’t be one 😆. Hope you all had a wonderful Easter! Bout to end this day with my husband, wine and Game of Thrones 🙌🏼💖✝️ #momlife #lovethem #easter2019
Celebrating London tonight. She was picked to have her self portrait displayed at the Georgetown library 🖍 🎨 #proudmama #createeveryday
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His wife Amber echoed his statements with her own post.  "Love the ones close to you. There has never been a more difficult moment for us than this." River's cause of death was confirmed to People by the singer's representative, who didn't elaborate further on the tragic incident. 

What parents should know

Especially as we near summer, it's important for all parents and caregivers to be hypervigilant about swimming and take extra precautions for their children's safety.

"Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than 5 minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time," the CDC says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics furthers these statements:  “Many of these deaths occur when children are not expected to be swimming or when they have unanticipated access to water. Toddlers are naturally curious; that’s why we must implement other strategies, such as pool fencing and door locks."

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Swim safety tips for parents
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Swim safety tips for parents

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 4, after birth defects. 

According to the CDC, children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates, with most drowning incidents occurring in home swimming pools. It's estimated that nearly 800 children in the United States die every year from drowning, with two-thirds of these deaths taking place between the months of May through August.  

There are steps parents can take to prevent such occurrences. Read on to learn more essential pool safety tips -- it can save lives.

There should always be a "water watcher" on duty

Since a drowning can occur in as little as 25 seconds, adults must never leave a child alone in a pool and must always be at arms reach. Turning away for even a second can increase the risk of drowning. Water watchers should not be on their phones and should be hyperaware, even if a lifeguard is present. There is no room for distraction, even if many adults are present. 

"Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than 5 minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time," the CDC says.

According to Parents, in 9 out of 10 drownings, parents say they had been supervising at the time.

Pools should be surrounded by fences 

“Many of these deaths occur when children are not expected to be swimming or when they have unanticipated access to water. Toddlers are naturally curious; that’s why we must implement other strategies, such as pool fencing and door locks," says Dr. Sarah Denny, from the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

"A four-sided isolation fence (separating the pool area from the house and yard) reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83% compared to three-sided property-line fencing," writes the CDC. The fences should be at least four feet high and the latch should be at least 54 inches from the ground. Tip: Toys should be kept out of the pool when not in use so kids aren't as tempted to enter the pool area. 

Some parents install a pool alarm for extra precaution, but the device doesn't replace parental supervision. 

Formal swimming lessons are essential 

According to reports, swimming lessons can help reduce the risk of drowning in children aged one to four by 88 percent. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn't suggest swim lessons for children under 1-year-old and factors such as his or her comfortability in the water to physical statuses will play a part in choosing when and which program is best. 

It's important to note that lessons, while beneficial, don't "drown proof" a child. According to the AAP, children's basic swim skills should include "ability to enter the water, surface, turn around, propel oneself for at least 25 yards, float on or tread water, and exit the water."

Drowning isn't like the movies 

Unlike what is portrayed in the movies, drowning can be silent: No splashing, no kicking, no yelling. It's quick, and can only take as little as 25 seconds for a child to drown. That's why it's important for parents and supervisors to be vigilant and hyperaware. 

"Toddlers don't yell or splash, and they sink fast," warns Dr. Steven Kernie to Parents

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An estimated 800 children drown in the US every year, with two-thirds of those deaths taking place between May and August. According to the CDC, it's "responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects)," with most deaths occurring in swimming pools. 

"Most children drown because their parents turn their head for just a second or have no idea that their child is even near the pool," said Druann Letter, the founder of Water Watchers, to Parents. Children can drown "silently" in as little as 25 seconds, and it's not like something out of the movies: no splashing, no yelling. 

Precautions parents can take

The lack of barriers, such as fences, as well as the lack of swimming ability and close supervision can contribute to the risk of drowning.

However, it's important to note these factors can be preventable. "Four-sided isolation fence (separating the pool area from the house and yard) reduces a child’s risk of drowning 83% compared to three-sided property-line fencing," explains the CDC. Furthermore, formal swimming lessons can reduce the risks of drowning in children aged one to four by 88 percent.

And although the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't suggest formal swimming lessons for children under 1, it's still important to note that lessons don't "drown-proof" a child, but can substantially lower risk of an incident.

For more life-saving swimming tips, watch the video above. 

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