The Death of Olympic Skier Bode Miller’s Daughter Is Something Every Parent Should Think About

Last year, we moved into a house with a pool, so this is our first summer living in a house with a pool. On one hand, I was so excited to have a pool for my kids. I grew up with a pool and my siblings and I practically spent every single waking moment in it — we were fishes and we loved every moment of it. I looked forward to giving my children the same type of summer memories I had, from putting on my swimsuit the moment I woke up, to eating watermelon poolside, still dripping wet, the juices running down our hands, to going to bed feeling like we were still swimming. 

{ MORE: The Many Benefits of Teaching Children to Swim at a Young Age }

But on the other hand, I was also terrified of having a pool. 

With our youngest child only three, she was just on the age of learning how to swim and with lots of cousins and friends around, I was also worried about the dangers of any young child getting hurt as the result of her pool. The first night we opened, I didn't sleep at all, because I was plagued with anxiety that one of the kids would sneak outside for a late-night swim and drown. 

Now that we are a few months into summer and we have enjoyed our pool immensely, I will say that my anxiety has decreased somewhat. But it is always there. I have flashes where I headcount, even when we were just inside, because I worry someone will fall in; I check the pool cover to make sure there are lumps or bulges and I constantly make sure the gate is locked. 

The risk of letting your guard down, even for a minute, is just too great with a pool. And sadly, Olympic skier Bode Miller's family is a prime, real-life example of just how easily a child can drown in a pool, even with full adult supervision. 

olympic skier
Image via Unsplash/ Lee Jeffs

Miller, along with his wife, who is pregnant with the couple's third child, his 19-month-daughter Emeline, known as “Emmy,” and his 3-year-old son were attending a neighborhood party. The house they were at had a pool, but according to reports, the party was taking place inside. The children were playing together in a room, when Emmy slipped out of the back door, unnoticed, and was able to get into the pool. She was alive when they discovered that she was missing and located her in the pool, but after being rushed to the hospital, she passed away the next day. 

The news was absolutely devastating to the parents, who have shared their grief and used their daughter's tragic passing to speak out about drowning and water safety for children. Emeline's mother, professional volleyball player Morgan Beck Miller, spoke out for the first time this past week since her daughter's death by posting to her Instagram account with a heartbreakingly adorable photo of her daughter and a special message to another mother who penned an essay for Scary Mommy after her daughter drowned the same day as Miller's. 

“It’s been 37 days since I’ve held my baby girl. I pray to God no other parent feels this pain. My heart is with you @nicolehughes8 as we walk this journey together. And thank you @scarymommy for helping us spread awareness. 

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PLEASE READ! Link in bio! Drowning is the NUMBER ONE cause of death in children ages 1-4. We talk about vaccinations, car seats, organic foods, screen time, etc at length…but not the number one risk your children's’ lives face… a silent killer. It takes SECONDS. Please share and help us spread awareness. It’s the first step to preventing these types of tragedies.”

The Miller's story, heartbreaking as it is, is an important reminder to all of us, as we move through the rest of summer attending parties and gatherings where pools or bodies of water are nearby, to remain extra cautious. Because even with adult supervision, drownings happen. In fact, one of the Miller's primary messages after their daughter's death is to remind parents that drownings are the #1 cause of child death in kids ages 1-4.  That's a huge statistic and it means that my sleepless nights are very warranted. Pool, while a crucial part of summer fun, are always real dangers for our children, so it's more important than ever to be aware, to keep children in sight constantly, and to enroll our children in approved swimming courses as soon as possible. 

“We are inspired to make our baby girls memory go forth and help prevent as many drownings as possible,” Miller said. And that's exactly what their story is doing. 

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The Death of Olympic Skier Bode Miller’s Daughter Is Something Every Parent Should Think About

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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