Several weeks ago at our community pool, I had the most terrifying moment of my life. I never truly understood the phrase “it only takes a minute” until I had kids, and it never really sunk in until I added a pool into the mix.

I was at the pool with my four kids, aged five and under. My oldest can swim, my second kid was wearing “puddle jumpers” – a floatation device that goes around their arms across their chest. My third child was wearing them as well, but decided to get out of the pool and took them off. My youngest, just a few weeks old, was sleeping in her carseat in front of me. When my youngest got out, I looked over towards my two other children. When I’m at the pool with my kids, I basically just count to three over and over while they’re in the water, making sure I don’t go more than a few seconds between checking on each of them. With my youngest swimmer out of the pool, I skipped his count a few times, and there was about 30-90 seconds between when I saw him and when I looked over towards the playground to check on him.

The playground at the pool has plenty of hiding spots, but because he had been running back and forth to and from the big pool, I stood up to make sure he wasn’t in the pool before I looked on the playground more carefully.