Healthy Living Blogging

KERF Thanks You For Your Concern


KERF, the human equivalent of cream on white chevron, posted yesterday about her awesome family vacation. Unfortunately one pic has caused some raised eyebrows; apparently her 2 year old son is off in the pool by himself while mom and family sit poolside, presumably eating some kind of kale chip and organic sadness nachos.

When a commenter questioned the wisdom of letting a toddler wade around in shoulder deep water alone, she was told ever-so-nicely that eyeballs are as good as arms.

Thank you for the concern, but all three of us were sitting right there watching him. I could have been to him in a split second. I’m also a former lifeguard, so I know what to watch for : )

Come on you concern trolls. Everyone knows it takes like, hours to drown properly. It’s not like a child has ever drowned with someone 3 feet away when they took their attention elsewhere for 2 minutes. You people need to chill out!

  1. avatar haterader

    Yeah, I have to say I try not to concern troll and give people the benefit of the doubt, as I have made many parenting decisions in my kid’s 6 months of life that I am sure people would side-eye…(but then again I don’t share them with the internet, so there’s that) BUT when I saw this while scrolling through KERF on my Feedly the other day (I still read her sometimes) it definitely gave me pause. Even if it was that shallow it’s still not a safe thing to do–and gee whiz, I’m a former lifeguard too, go figure! And it’s really odd that not even a grandparent was in there…my mom would go BANANAS if I did something like that–or at the very least she’d be in there playing with him!

    • avatar CMJ

      We had my two year old niece’s life jacket on the even when she wasn’t in the pool and there were like 20 people around the pool always watching her….seriously, she’s got a mind of her own.

      • avatar Bucky

        We always did that at my parents’ house. If the toddlers were in the backyard, they were wearing a life jacket. It is way too easy for a toddler to slip and fall into a pool.

        • avatar CMJ

          Yep….not to mention how many times we had to tell every kid to stop running….

        • avatar Bucky

          I’m loving the 1 or 2 ‘nopes’ on so many of these comments. Hi Kath! Hi Matth!

          Unless someone thought I meant that we were using life jackets instead of adult supervision, which, well, they’d be wrong. There was always an adult outside, but the pool was 9 feet deep so the toddlers had life jackets on.

    • avatar Nutbutter Face

      Plus, it’s super shallow to an adult, but clearly for a little kid like Mazen, it’s UP TO HIS ELBOWS.

      • avatar CMJ

        Also, that’s def not a “baby pool.”

      • avatar irisheyes

        I’m not WKing at all, but I think he might be kneeling. If you look at the kid in navy in the back of the pic, the water is only up to his knees. I could be wrong, though.

        She should still be in there. My three year old is never more than an arm’s reach away when we go to the pool, and our public pool is a zero entry, so we’re usually in water that’s no deeper than 18 inches to 2 feet. She’s still gone in face forward and I’ve needed to yank her out. He could have tipped over in one second. And I doubt they were watching every second as they chatted and drank. Why couldn’t they have talked while sitting at the side or in the water?

  2. avatar Vertical Running

    We just lost another child in my state to drowning. A 2 year old, in his grandparents’ pool. And everyone was talking about what wonderful grandparents they are and how devastated everyone is. I’m not trying to criticize the grandparents, just pointing out how (very unfortunately) commonplace drowning is. Heck, KERF probably even knows someone who has a child that has drowned or nearly drowned. And, from personal experience (of working in a hospital), near drowning victims are VERY sick for a VERY long time. I’m talking ICU for days, on a vent, etc, sick. Ugh. The level of casual smugness irritates the snot out of me.

    • avatar KAS

      Yeah, we knew a family that lost a 4-yo child to drowning, so it’s not something I take lightly. You can lose your child FOREVER. Your beautiful light and joy. I would die. Get off your ass and get in the fucking water, KERF.

      • avatar GodsMonroeInvestmentProperty

        Or in KERF’s case, her beautiful blog fodder.

    • avatar Nutbutter Face

      God, I can’t imagine what those grandparents are feeling, let alone the parents. :(

  3. avatar Profanity Jane

    We took a beach vacation earlier this summer, and in calm water up to her chest my daughter pitched forward and ended up sort of folded in half with her head underwater but her arms windmilling at her sides. I was maybe four feet away, and it still felt like it took eons for me to reach her.

    I was in a full panic by the time I got my hands on her (by which point she had righted herself). I looked up after a minute or two and none of the four other family members with us, at most ten feet away, had noticed a thing.

    You really don’t see as much as you think you do from ten feet away, especially when you’re talking with someone.

  4. avatar Minty

    When I was three, I was walking in the shallow end of a pool with my dad at my side. Suddenly the deep end arrived in the form of a step… like the ground just dropped out from under me. Down I went. My dad, who had been inches from me, didn’t rescue me. Instead, I got pulled out by a lifeguard wearing leopard print Speedos (which to this day my brother thinks is hilarious. I also now have a major soft-spot for leopard print and a huge fear of deep water). But the point is, although I was completely within my dad’s reach, he was too shocked to actually do anything. Nobody can really predict how fast things will go wrong and how fast they will personally be able to launch into saviour mode. I can’t believe the arrogance/ willful ignorance kerf has displayed, thinking everyone will lap it up as wow look at the special toddler who can manage alone in the water how advanced. Good lord.

  5. avatar Me cat, you mouse

    If you love to hate kerf, here are some funny kerf parody twitter accounts:


    • avatar Bucky

      And of course,, written by the incomparable Conchshell.

  6. avatar GlenCoco

    Long time lurker, rare commenter here.

    This link goes to a Slate article titled “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning”.

    TL;DR – Drowning only looks like crazed arm waving and screaming for help on TV. In reality, it’s quiet and fast.

  7. avatar Belladonna Took

    Why all the hand wringing? He’s chest deep in water with adult supervision. He’s not exactly ALONE. There’s an adult there on the side. And yes … drowning can happen even when adults are right beside their kids because it’s a silent death. If I was sat on that poolside I would be more aware of watching my kids and I would be quicker to react.

    Jeez … Kids can die in the bath. There is danger everywhere you look. Is this worth four pages of what a bad mum somebody is? This is what makes me roll my eyes so hard at GOMI sometimes.

    Now. Nope away.

    • avatar Chesty La Rue

      Sorry I will not agree that this is OK. Is he alone? no. But he is in chest deep water with no flotation device. It is safest for an adult to be within arm’s reach. I have taught hundreds of parent/child swim classes and this is what I stress to parents over and over and over again. At that age and without any type of flotation device, you need to be within arms reach of your child. ADULTS have slipped, fell and drowned in shallow water when they panic. They don’t realize they can stand up, what do you think a 2 year old will do?

      And of course your kid can die in the bath, which is why you don’t leave them unsupervised there either.

      • avatar Belladonna Took

        But he is obviously being watched. Somebody is taking a photo of him. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Really.

        • avatar Chesty La Rue

          what would you rather do:

          realize there is a problem (pro tip: it doesn’t look like on tv with someone flailing around, it can be hard to see sometimes), get up off a chair run, over to the side (pro tip 2: don’t trip!) jump in and pull your kid out of the water? A kid who didn’t learn to hold their breath just inhaled a lot of water (google search: secondary drowning)


          reach your arm out and pull your kid up immediately because they are within arms length?

          is it so terribly unsafe her kid should be taken away? no. is it the safest option available? no. as someone who has had to pull too many kids out of a pool, i advocate for the safest option possible anytime you are around water.

    • avatar Belladonna Took

      Only 16 nopes? I bet none of you have kids ;)

    • avatar Churton Lives!

      Yes, kids can die in the bath. That is why I never leave my three year old alone in the bathroom while he’s in the bathtub. They can also die in a “toddler pool” if their face goes into the water just long enough to aspirate water–especially when they are under two years old and have never learned to hold their breath just before they go under. That is why there are recommendations (and rules, at public pools) for an adult to always be within ARM’S REACH of a young child in the pool. FFS, Mazen doesn’t even have a flotation device on. I’m sure he’s a child prodigy and can keep his balance at all times in chest-deep water, but he’s a toddler.

      Ever hear the phrase “better safe than sorry”? It applies in situations that combine young children and water.

      • avatar Belladonna Took

        He is stood up in a pool not even chest height with an adult not four foot away from him. He is not going to drown IF people are watching him. To me, it looks like they are WATCHING HIM.

        Give. Me. Strength.

        • avatar Chesty La Rue

          the safest option is to be next to your child. i don’t see why you wouldn’t choose to be in the water next to your 2 year old. you can come back and argue with me after you have had to do CPR on a toddler that fell in a pool.

        • avatar Amanda Hugginkiss

          Where do you get that they are four feet away? Plus, the adult would have to put down their phone, put down their wine and cheese, get up, get in the pool, and grab the kid. How much of a sacrifice is it to be in the pool with your own child?

          • avatar Belladonna Took

            Quite a big one if you just washed your hair that morning.

            • avatar what_is_written

              She doesn’t have to dunk her head. And I have long thick hair that is a pain to wash, so I get it. But I put it up in a high bun and get in the pool with my kid. Its not rocket science.

              And when it comes to small toddlers and water, better safe than sorry, period. Its not helicopter parenting, its that it takes two seconds for something bad to happen.

          • avatar CMJ

            It looks more than four feet to me…but I guess I’m just one of those “bitter bitches” who believes in pool safety.

        • avatar Churton Lives!

          I think what a lot of people are scratching their heads over, besides you white-knighting for a woman who is a complete moron, is why not be in the pool with her kid? She posts pictures of her nearly suffocating Mazen in order to keep him in the shot with her, to get a good picture of her hair, but she can’t be arsed to be in the pool with him and toss her phone or camera to her parents and say “Can you grab a pic of me and Mazen in the pool?” Why not be in the pool with your toddler? Why does it inconvenience her?

          • avatar Belladonna Took

            Context is everything.

            I don’t follow kerf. I’m merely reacting to this post and the reactions to this post. I believe it is my ‘right’ to do so, as a fellow citizen of the Interwebs. If there is a history, which I believe there is judging by the obsession some of you folks have with her … I’m not that well informed of it.

            I’m just providing some perspective, that’s all.

            • avatar CMJ


            • avatar Ceranimals Again

              It doesn’t take following Kerf( Fellow nonfollower) to know that leaving your very young child in a pool alone is an idiotic move.
              Just some more perspective for you.

        • avatar Buttercream coma

          The adult in the picture is watching HIS OWN children. Children old enough to walk and talk and run and swim.

          Kath is sitting in a chair at least 15 feet away from her TODDLER (23 months) while he’s walking in chest deep water. Neither of her parents are in the shot. The baby is warring no flotation devices. He’s walking toward older children who are walking and preparing to jump into the pool.

          On what planet is that safe? You are a fucking idiot.

          • avatar Belladonna Took


          • avatar CMJ

            One jump in that pool from the older kids and even the smallest “wake” could knock over that kid…..seriously. WTF.

    • avatar Belladonna Took

      Youse are all just Incredibly boring about this.

      So. G’night and thank you for reminding me what bitter bitches you can all be sometimes.

  8. avatar Chesty La Rue

    My summer and side job all through HS and college was swim instructor/lifeguard for a day care center and summer camp. I have taught and supervised literally 100s of kids of Mazen’s age and older.

    Without a doubt, this is incredibly unsafe. It does not appear he has any flotation device and even if he did it is not an excuse to pay less attention or lounge on the side of the pool. The amount of times I have had to jump in after kids in flotation devices that get stuck with their faces in the water is too many to count. The amount of fearless kids who just forget or don’t understand they can’t swim and get into trouble in the water is too many to count. The amount of kids who drown every year in the US is far far too many. It should be zero. We can do better. Kath can do better to ensure it does not happen to her son.

    Kids Mazen’s age don’t often have the motor skills to “swim” yet, but they can be taught to keep calm, hold their breath and orientate themselves into a face up floating position. We can be pretty sure baby Mazen has not had any form of swim lesson, over sharing Kath would be sure to let us know about it. It seriously infuriates me that she can say this was fine and she knows because she was a lifeguard. All knowing perfect Kath is never ever ever wrong.

    Fuck you Kath. I’m serious. Fuck you.

    • avatar Kate

      We do know that he has had some swim lessons, because Kathy shared how disappointed she was not to be able to flounce around in the hot tub as if her preference at the gym, IIRC. But obviously the fact that a less-than-two year old has had some swim lessons at the Y does NOT make it okay that she’s let him “swim” without an adult. It’s crazy.

      I also just have to express disbelief that she doesn’t want to be in the pool WITH HIM. Aren’t little kids swimming among the cutest things in the world? Isn’t it fun to have something to do in the pool, namely play with your kid? As an adult, I often found that the pool had lost its allure to me because you basically just sit there or stand around awkwardly. A child gives you an activity–playing!

      Heck, I like being with my five month old just laying side by side staring at each other and making faces. I can’t wait til we can take her to the pool! And I PROMISE you, if we were there with my parents, the three of us would be fighting over who got to hold her, or hold her hands once she’s old enough to stand on her own. I can’t imagine my parents AND me all three being like “meh” and sending her off into the water on her own. CAN’T IMAGINE.

      • avatar Chesty La Rue

        ah, i follow kerf pretty regularly, i didn’t remember that. thanks.

    • avatar Shades of Shadows

      The school I work at has ‘swim school’ for two weeks each year for kids in yr2-6 (ie the youngest kids are 7-8) many of our kids have never swum before, let alone be in a pool in the first lesson or so it is a challenge to get them to put their faces in the water, let alone blow bubbles or take their feet off the bottom. Every year there is always one child who throws themselves forward with just a little too much force or panics when their face is submerged and somehow lifts their feet of their ground. They ALWAYS have trouble pulling their heads out and getting on their feet again independently and I’m sure they have much better gross motor skills / core strength than a toddler. Besides which the water is just at their waist. There are always three teachers in the pool and each of us only has 1 child in the water at once during these early stages so we can get them upright when needed. Plus, they’re wearing floaties / a bubble. Even when they get more confident we usually only have 2 each in the pool with a noodle / floaties. And we are ALWAYS within arms reach. I just can’t with how relaxed she and the fam are with the whole thing.

  9. avatar JudgementalSnarker

    Poor Kerfy.

    All she wanted to do was peace out on parenting for a few hours with her Better Homes and Gardens mag, sipping a cocktail (or 5) without the damn kid getting in the way of her funnnnn.

    Kids…what a drag.

  10. avatar Jenna

    To me, this is all pretty simple, and boils down to one very easy question……why chance it?

    Yes, there are myriad ways kids can hurt themselves or die. Does that mean you should actively seek out ways to test the risk?

    Yes, parents these days have a tendency to over-protect. Does that mean you should swing so far to the opposite side of the fence that you are basically flirting with danger?

    Yes, kids need to learn independence – but not where basic safety is concerned, and not at 2 years of age.

    There is simply no way to spin this….a 2 year old, who only recently became comfortable near water (per Kath’s last beach week vacation, where she commented he was less afraid of the water) has no business being in a pool by himself, flotation device or no (no flotation just makes it that much worse!), adults “nearby” or no. Quite simply, this isn’t a lot different than if Kath were to decide seatbelts for Mazen are optional in her car, because she’s such a great driver she would simply avoid accidents. Perhaps. Perhaps she would be that lucky……but perhaps not. So I ask again, why take that chance?

    • avatar what_is_written

      GAH I noped you on accident D: And that sucks because this whole comment is flawless. When it comes to water and little kids its better safe than sorry.

  11. avatar snapped

    All it would take is one misstep by little Mazen and under he goes. Her smug reply that she sees no problem with sitting on the sidelines sunbathing and socializing is simply the most idiotic thing I have ever read. She doesn’t want anyone or anything to interfere with her “me” time.

  12. avatar oprah

    At least he’s vertical!

  13. avatar purple21

    I’ve never read KERF before and my initial observation (after agreeing that leaving the baby in the pool is asking for trouble) is that she makes doing nothing seem like a lot of hard work. Just photo after photo of food, then walking to the water, then a nap and reading a book, in between photos of food. I realize that promoting the food is the point of the blog but it seems sort of imbalanced when she’s taking photos of her private life that seems to involve nothing more than arranging the next meal tastefully in between a few cute photos of her toddler.

    • avatar Rosalindy

      First time poster here. You said exactly what I wanted to say but better. The food she prepares looks disgusting too, either charred to death veggies or big bowls of goo. I am into food pron as much as the next person, but looking at some of her pics makes my stomach turn. I’m always late to the party, just discovered GOMI about a month ago, and let’s just say I’ve been spending way too much time on the Internets reading this site.

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