Unfortunately, for us, our story begins with our son CJ’s obituary. His death, from an accidental drowning, is the catalyst for us researching water safety and drowning prevention, and thus founding SWIM for CJ Inc.

CJ was two-months shy from his third birthday at the time of his death. He was our only son, and the youngest of three children. CJ could easily be labeled as that stereotypical BOY who had more energy than he knew what to do with. He was constantly on the go, running after his sisters, playing with trucks, tractors, dinosaurs and dirt! The day of his accident, was like any other typical day. We watched cartoons, played with toys, and debated what we would eat for breakfast. Waffles, or pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse!? Just before starting to cook breakfast, while I was in the bathroom, and CJ was with his sisters, he ended up in the backyard by himself. It was only a few minutes, there were no sounds of splashing or yelling, and my son, who showed no interest in our above ground pool, had somehow climbed up and got into the pool. We never took CJ in the pool without his puddle jumper or floaties on, and the safety ladder was always pulled down.

I did not EVER take into consideration that CJ would end up in the water without his floats, not being able to swim, and without an adult being with him. I didn’t consider this because I love my kids more than anything… because I was a good mom who always watched my kids… because I THOUGHT I was practicing water safety by using floaties and using the safety ladder.

I was wrong. Just like so many other parents, who don’t ever consider something like this actually happening to them.

Despite being a good mom and being a nurse, immediately starting CPR and calling 911, my son died.

Amidst the emotional rollercoaster and obsessive search for answers and acceptance, I was shocked at the information I started to learn about the prevalence of drowning and the misinformation that I had known about water safety. It became very obvious to me that there are not enough people talking about water safety and spreading accurate information. To realize that the floats I had relied on so religiously when CJ was in the water, actually contributed to my own false sense of security, and his misperception on swimming, was devastating. I placed so much emphasis on him always wearing his puddle jumper and believing that it was helping him to “swim”, I never considered the dangers of him not wearing it, the improper swimming position it placed him in, and the need for survival swim lessons.

I absolutely do not think you are a bad parent if you are using floaties and puddle jumpers, but I would question if you have all of the facts about using them. We simply do not know what we don’t know. I would challenge all parents to ask themselves, “If my child DID end up in the water alone, would they know what to do?”

I want you to have all of the facts. I want you to know what the many layers of protection are. I want you to know that this happens to good parents and good families. I want you to know that this happens way more than you realize. I want you to be able to educate others and change the way we look at water safety.

My mind will forever be embedded with the images and events that took place on January 19, 2019, when I discovered that my son was floating in our backyard swimming pool. There is NOTHING that can prepare you for having to go through this, and having to live without your child for the rest of your life. The heartache of my journey is painfully tragic, but yet motivating, because I absolutely do not want to see other parents and families go through what my family is going through.

I am blessed to have the energy to honor my son in this way and to have the opportunity to meet other water safety advocates who have helped me in my learning process and grief journey.   
                                                                                                                                                                                     – Dana Foland


What Drives Us

Too many parents have said the words “I just didn’t know…”

Too many good parents have lost their children to the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4.


CJ’s legacy is teaching families about water safety and drowning prevention.

In his honor we advocate.