It was the brave generosity of two awe inspiring moms that started me on this mission. Each losing a child to accidental drowning just days before, in different parts of the country, were on the Today Show; heroically sharing their stories in hopes of saving other parents the unspeakable pain. They shared photos of their beautiful babies they had held for the last time and the shocking statistics on the leading cause of death of children 1 to 4-years-of-age; accidental drowning. Pleading the question, through raw sobs, “Why didn’t we know?”
On my lap, was a children’s story I was wrapping up, my first. The story was all about a family beach vacation; snow cones, swimming, sand castles and a mermaid. I scribbled in the margin “Work in Water Safety!!” I know the seconds of terror that accompany a “now ya see ‘em, now you don’t” disappearing act. I had more than a few episodes with my own children. Only; they didn’t find their way to the water, I was not a better mom, I was a lucky mom.
The majority of these drownings occur during non-swim times. They were just playing with siblings down the hall or snuggled with the dog on the couch. I started thinking about how I could reach these little ninjas, these happy go lucky tiny explorers? What if I could reach them? What if I could help them to understand and follow a rule simplified just for them? I'm not a doctor, a child psychologist or a specialist of any sort. I'm a mom who looked with my “mom eyes”, listened with my “mom heart” and called on my “mom experiences” in hopes of saving a child.
Hi! I'm Sue Bunkers, author of The Manatee on Vacation With Me, The Manatee at Home With Me, Creator of "HuManatee's Rule" and founder of Splash Mob Media; all created on the simple premise that, we as parents, use fictional characters to delight and reward our young children. Santa, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and shelved elves have long been used to illicit favorable behavior to much success. So, I got to thinking; what if there were a character whose only mission was to teach our children one small rule that would help protect them against the biggest threat to their precious lives? What if this character was so fun that kids were excited to learn the rule? What if this character could inspire parents to speak more on the subject of water safety awareness as a family and encourage their friends to do the same? What if this character was hung on the door of every pediatrician's office, building awareness, and creating conversations? What if we could add to this glorious gang of childhood memory makers, a member with the most important mission of all. The mission, to teach our young children the first rule of water safety, while simultaneously keeping the subject top-of-mind for parents and caregivers. Accidental drowning is the number one cause of death for children 1 to 4-years-old. Most parents and caregivers are unaware of this terrifying statistic. This fabulously-fun, family manatee's mission is to teach "HuManatee's Rule" to children around the world and to arm teachers, caregivers, pediatricians and parents with the power of knowledge and awareness. I know it's a lot of "What-ifs"; but, what if, together we could save a child? What if!
My daughter Johni & I circa (a long time ago - she just turned 21 ;) at my mom's pool. The best!
Please hit us with your email and we'll hit ya back with lots of love, gratitude & updates; including, when our first bundle of summer joy will be splashing down ♥