THE mother of a girl who drowned on the weekend is mourning the loss of her “golden-hearted” daughter and warning other parents to take measures to avoid facing a similar tragedy.
On Saturday afternoon Mia Rose Harrison was found motionless in the indoor kids’ pool at Orange Aquatic Centre, where she had been happily playing with a group of family and friends.
Attempts to revive the four-year-old were made by her family and lifeguards before she was taken to Orange hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Mekaela Harrison said although her daughter – who attended Goodstart Early Learning Orange on Molong Road and was enrolled to commence kindergarten at Orange Public School in 2018 – had recently commenced swimming lessons, she was not yet comfortable putting her head under the water.
Had Mia been able to do so, according to her distraught mother, Saturday’s tragedy may have been averted.
Miss Harrison on Monday cast aside her despair at her daughter’s passing to issue a heartfelt warning to others to ensure their children are safe in the water.
“I can not stress enough the importance of swimming lessons and continually watching kids when they’re in the pool,” she said.
“Get your kids involved in swimming and water safety and teaching them CPR.
“Don’t shy away from it. Explain it to them, without terrifying them, so they know the danger.”
The devastated mother described the incident as “a tragic accident – nothing more, nothing less”, and asked that those casting blame at her, her family or the Hill Street facility’s staff to consider the impact of their ill-conceived words.
She said the pool was crowded and chaotic, and in those circumstances anyone would have a difficult time keeping a constant eye on everyone in the water, even their own children.
“It can happen anywhere, at anytime, to anyone,” Miss Harrison said.
“People shouldn’t be so quick to judge me or the lifeguards. It was not their fault, they are not babysitters.
“People don’t know what happened. We don’t even know what happened yet, so why are they commenting on what people should have done?”
She paid tribute to the lifeguards, paramedics and hospital staff for their efforts to save her daughter’s life.
“All of them did everything they could for Mia and they’re having a rough time now, too,” Miss Harrison said.
People don’t know what happened. We don’t even know what happened yet, so why are they commenting on what people should have done?Mekaela Harrison
Acknowledging the support of her family and friends in the dark hours since Saturday’s incident, the mother of Hunter, 3, said Mia’s passing would leave a void in the lives of her family and all who knew her.
“She was my happy, golden-hearted child,” Miss Harrison said.
“She was the sweetest, most caring daughter I could have asked for.”
Miss Harrison has created a GoFundMe account “to raise money for her funeral and to help myself and all of my family get any support we are going to need.”
Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/for-mia-rose-harrison.
In a Facebook post published on Monday the Orange Aquatic Centre notified residents the facility would not open on Monday or Tuesday.
“We'd like to thank everyone for their ongoing support during this incredibly difficult time. It is truly appreciated,” the post read.
Police investigations into the incident are continuing.