Menu

Amber + Granger Smith release an  emotional video about their son's drowning

"Amber and I want you to hear it from us and not just read it," shares Granger Smith.

Amber + Granger Smith release an  emotional video about their son's drowning

Earlier this month country singer Granger Smith shared some unthinkably tragic news: His son, River Kelly Smith, had died at just 3 years old. Soon after we learned that the little boy had drowned.

Now, Smith and his family have opened up about their loss in an emotional YouTube video memorializing River and thanking medical staff for all the efforts made in his final hours.

In the video Smith and his wife, Amber, explained that, like Bode Miller's daughter, little River's drowning did happen in a home swimming pool. Smith says he and the kids were outside that day. The singer and his oldest, daughter London, age 7, were doing gymnastics. River and his 5-year-old brother Lincoln were having a water gun fight.

"I remember thinking, I was looking at London, as she was doing gymnastics and I thought, 'Soak up this moment because it's not going to last forever,'" Smith explains in the video. Soon, that moment turned to panic. "Somewhere between 30 seconds and three minutes, we don't know, Amber and I are inside our pool gate doing CPR on our son."

"We had an incredible boy for three years"

In the video, the Smiths explain that they "feel very blessed" to have had River in their lives for "just over a thousand days."

It is heartbreaking, but the Smiths say they don't want pity or to wallow in sorrow and are trying to cherish the moments that they did have with River and figure out where they will go from here.

"It has only been two weeks but it has been a journey," says Smith.

In an Instagram post, Smith explained why he and Amber are choosing to share the details of River's death publicly:

"I've been dark on social media, but I still have a full understanding of the responsibility placed upon me as a public figure. I can choose to snuff that influence, or instead use my platform (in relevancy big or small) towards what I believe is right. I believe I'm obligated on certain levels to include you guys in my current journey, as I've been involved either personally or musically in yours," the 39-year-old singer wrote of the tragedy he and his family have suffered.

The circumstances around River's death are all too common 

A new report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission asserts that child drownings are on the rise. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children aged 1 to 4. According to the report, fatal drownings spiked in 2016, with 389 reported deaths of children under 15 and 74% of these fatalities occurring in children under 5.

This news highlights the need for more awareness and vigilance. And by sharing this data—and some things parents should keep in mind as we head into the summer—the report (and the Smith's video) may save lives.

Fatal drownings commonly occur during the summer and at residential locations. This makes a lot of sense: It's easy to feel a false sense of security in your own home (or a close friend's home), but the absence of a qualified lifeguard could lead to some devastating scenarios. That's why the team behind this report is urging everyone to sign the Pool Safety Pledge—because by familiarizing yourself with the dangers and the best way to avert them, you could potentially save a child from this tragic fate.

Water safety for parents 

On top of learning how to keep your child safe yourself, you may also want to equip your little one with swimming skills. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a great time to start swimming lessons is earlier than you may think: The organization suggests that children as young as a year old can benefit from lessons.

The AAP also warns parents or guardians to always supervise children in pools, ensure an adult is within arm's reach of inexperienced swimmers, and consider avoiding things like inflatable floaties (which are not replacements for life jackets and may give parents a false sense of security). Parents who have pools in their homes should consider installing a fence of at least 4 feet around the pool, keeping rescue equipment close at hand, and have drains and suctions updated regularly. You can find a full list of tips from the AAP here.

The prospect of losing a child to drowning is harrowing, so it's of utmost importance that we all learn as much as we can about prevention as we head into the summer. We hope this report has the power to keep kids everywhere safe in the water.

You might also like:

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

Keep reading Show less
Life

Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less
Life

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less
News