Drowning victim's dad pushes for lifejacket bill
BOSTON (WHDH) -- State lawmakers are hoping to draft a bill in the memory of a 4-year-old boy who drowned at a summer camp in 2007.
“I still have nightmares that he’s under the water calling me -- ‘Daddy, daddy why don’t you save me?’ It kills me. I feel like I’ve failed him because I couldn’t get there in time,” said Derek Frechette.
Frechette’s son, Christian, drowned in a Sturbridge lake in 2007. Christian was found at the bottom of three feet of water on the first day of camp. Frechette had brought lifejackets for Christian and his 5-year-old brother, but he was told they were not allowed at the camp.
“I walked away with two of them that day because they are not allowed at these camps,” said Frechette. “Within two hours my son was gone.”
Frechette set out to change the law. Christian’s Bill would require all state or town-run camps to have lifejackets available for children and require swimming tests. The legislation would also allow parents to request that their children wear flotation devices while swimming.
“Many, many years ago when my mother turned her back when she was hanging clothes on the clothes line my brother drowned when he was only 4 years old,” said State Senator Stephen Brewer, one of the bill’s sponsors. “So, I understand the pain that is eternal in families when you lose a child to drowning.”
The legislation, which passed in the Senate, is pending in the House.
“It will save some kids this year, it really will. That’s all I want to do,” said Frechette.
Governor Deval Patrick declared the month of May drowning prevention awareness month.