Christian's Law will help prevent children from drowning [Op Ed]

Drowning is the number one killer of children 4 and under

On average, ten people drown in the US--two out of every ten are children four and under

by Derek Frechette
[email protected]

On July 13, 2007 our 4-year-old son Christian passed away from drowning at a local town-run camp. We have started a non-profit organization to provide life jackets to all children at all camps, lakes, beaches and town-run pools across the state of Massachusetts (currently not required). Our son Christian drowned in our town run-camp. He was there for two hours on his first day and the five staff members and lifeguards didn’t see him.

Christian was a child that every parent would want. He was loving, caring, and always happy. Unfortunately we lost him July 13, 2007 to an unforgivable mistake made by lifeguards and staff.  While nobody was watching him, he drowned.

There is not a day that goes by that we don't cry for him at least once.

God we miss him.

LEAFS:
Life Jackets (USCG approved)
Education (dangers of water)
Alarms (doors, windows, gates, alarms)
Fencing (secure fencing around all pools)
Swim Lessons
Christian was born on October 17, 2002. We couldn’t have been happier. That gave us two boys in 14-months that could grow up together and be best friends. They were best friends and his brother Cameron was there the day that he died. Cameron still talks about him daily and tries to make us happy by saying things like he is sitting next to you or I just saw his angel. It is so hard watching Cameron without Christian, he looks so alone.

This really is the hardest thing to write. He is gone forever and we can’t accept that. Why did we trust others? Why did we take him there? What if we took him there even a minute later, would he still be here? There are so many whys and still no answers. How can we ever forgive ourselves? We trusted and now our son is gone. How can we trust again? The what-ifs will haunt me for the remaining days/years I have left.

Please don’t let yourself or your loved ones feel this preventable pain.

We went to Cameron’s baseball game today. It was wonderful until we figured out Christian would have been on his team this year. No matter what we do Christian will always be here. I love that and hate it at the same time. It was so hard to enjoy the game while looking out on the field and not seeing Christian.

You can prevent this. Laws need to be changed to save our children.

The CEF Foundation is named for Christian Earl Frechette, who died in July 2007, due to the law that considers life jackets "toys" in most states.  As stated in our mission below, this can’t keep happening to our children. He was an amazing son, and through his passing, we have dedicated our lives to drowning prevention and policy making.

Christian. Photo courtesy of ceffoundation.org.

The foundation will work to develop more partnerships throughout the United States to prevent drowning. This includes swim lessons, education, life jacket manufacturers, alarm manufacturers, fencing companies and lawmakers to ensure the number of drowning deaths decrease as our partnerships increase.

Drowning is preventable.

Currently, Christian's Law (Senate Bill 1183) just passed third reading in the Massachusetts House. Hopefully by the second week in June it will be signed into law. Once this law is passed, ALL children in Massachusetts that attend camp will be required to take a swim test.  In addition, if the camp or a parent feels that the child needs a life jacket, the camp WILL BE required to provide one at no cost. This law will hopefully add hotels/motels in the near future to prevent what happened recently at a hotel in Chatham. This can be prevented, if only profits didn’t stand in the way of lives.

We will be having a memorial golf classic this year to raise money for the purchase of life jackets to provide for free to those that need them. Please visit our website to donate, play or sponsor a hole. Any help would mean the world to us.

Please visit www.ceffoundation.org  for all the information about this law. We intend to make this mandatory in each State by lobbying lawmakers throughout the Nation.

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