Upstate mom raising awareness & education on water safety, need for ISR instructors following son’s drowning death


SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A Spartanburg County mom has an urgent warning for parents ahead of warm summer months spent by the pool or lake. Her two-year-old son drowned in a pool almost three years ago. But as she told 7 News, she’s using this tragedy as a way to educate others.

A name forever etched on the arm of Kari Grayson.

“No one should ever have to go through that,” said Spartanburg County Mom, Kari Grayson.

The face behind it, eternally burned into her heart. That’s her two-year-old son, Castiel.

“I was woken up by my youngest daughter coming in telling me, Cass is dead,” Grayson told us.

He drowned in a pool almost three years ago. She told us, it happened quickly. Adding, she was taking a nap and her husband was around watching their kids but the toddler quietly slipped out of the house.

“My husband has his lifeless body and hands him to me,” said Grayson.

It’s a tragic story Claudette Graham has heard before because she told 7 News, accidents like this aren’t entirely rare.

“It’s doesn’t take a pool to drown, it can be a bucket of water, it can be anything really,” said Infant Swim Resource Swim Instructor, Claudette Graham.

She’s an Infant Swimming Resource Swim Instructor. There’s not a lot of them in the Upstate but what she does is specialized towards survival and self-rescue of these young children and toddlers.

“The one-on-one we do the muscle memory so that if there ever was an incident, there’s not even a thought on what to do, they immediately roll into that float which is the saving posture,” Graham explained.

That’s why the two of them are teaming up, using this tragedy as a way to stop it from happening ever again.

Grayson offers ideas on how to help.

“Layers of protection: pool alarms, entry alarms, fences, making sure there’s nothing around the fence for them to climb, making sure there’s no toys in the pool that would make the pool more inviting to a child, alarms and locks on your doors that lead outside,” Grayson added.

While also carrying on Castiel’s memory through not only the flowers he loved but also, prevention and education.

These words of warning are just a start for Kari Grayson. She plans to carry her mission through the Upstate especially during May, that’s National Water Safety month. It’s also the month of Castiel’s birthday.

Something else Graham mentioned, it’s never too early to start teaching this. Her instruction typically begins for six-month-old children. These classes are one-on-one. She also discourages allowing kids to rely on arm flotation devices that aren’t certified life jackets.

Additionally, these classes can be done anytime of year. In fact, having them during the winter months can prepare your child for summer, according to Graham.

To learn more about these classes or to get connected with Graham, you can visit her website here:

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