Life-Saving Information Every Family Needs to Know

A Day in the Park in Remembrance of Jayce is a free event for parents, family members and caregivers to learn about water safety, life-saving devices, swimming lessons and CPR.

Last summer, Karla Sherman and Jay Chattelle lost their eighteen-month-old son, Jayce Kayden Sherman-Chattelle, to accidental drowning in the backyard pool. After the tragedy happened, Karla Sherman made it her mission to create A Day in the Park in Remembrance of Jayce. The second annual, free public event will be held again this year, September 6 from noon to 5 p.m. at Johnston Memorial Park (rain date, Sept. 13). It will be a day for parents, family members and caregivers to learn about water safety, life-saving devices, swimming lessons and CPR. More than forty vendors will be on hand providing life-saving information and demonstrations and giving away life jackets, door alarms and more.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between the ages of one and four. “I never want to see another family feel how I am feeling,” says Karla Sherman. “It’s a horrible feeling especially to know it’s something that can be so easily prevented just by having an alarm on your door.”

Sherman now hands out pool alarms for doors at events to people who could use them. “When the child opens the door, it has the most alerting sound you’ll ever hear in your life,” she says. “It’s a loud noise to warn the parents that the door has been opened.”

Her advice to all families with small children and a pool: “Always have a door alarm and keep it on no matter what. All it takes is one second for a child to wander off unseen,” she says.

Money raised at the event will be used to provide scholarships through the Jayce the Healer Foundation for swimming lessons for children whose families cannot afford them. Sherman also hopes to become certified as a resource instructor to teach infants as young as six months old how to swim. The Cranston YMCA and three different Boys and Girls Clubs will be at the event providing information about swimming lessons and giving away some free lessons. There will also be a Rhode Island Blood Center blood drive from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and CPR demonstrations by Ozga EMS Training will take place every hour, explaining how to perform the life-saving technique on infants, children and adults. “I would love to see every parent, family member and caregiver learn how to perform CPR,” Sherman says.

The Department of Environmental Management is planning a presentation on water safety, including proper life jacket use. “A lot of people go to a store and see a life jacket, and they think it’s safe,” says Sherman. “But does it fit properly? Is it right for their weight? It’s like buying a car seat for your child. It has to meet certain requirements to be safe for that child.”

Various fun activities will be available for kids, including bouncy houses, face-painting, dancing by Tony the Dancing Cop and the United States Coast Guard is bringing "Coastie" the safety tugboat to teach kids water safety tips. There will also be performances including karate demonstrations by USA Karate and Team United Martial Arts Academy and dance routines by Dancin Spirit Performing Arts in Pawtucket.

Like last year, they will be giving away life jackets and water safety coloring books (donated by Pool and Patio Center of Coventry) and door alarms along with first aid kits. They are also giving away backpacks filled with back-to-school supplies to the first forty kids. You could also win an iSwimband, a life-saving device that attaches to the child’s wrist or ankle and connects to an app on the parent’s phone. It was designed by a man who nearly lost his son to drowning, but knew how to perform CPR and saved his life. “As soon as a child touches a body of water, your phone will send you an alert,” says Sherman. The company is also offering a discount to anyone ordering an iSwimband for personal use for a child. Use the coupon code Jayce15 to take advantage of a 20 percent discount on the already reduced price of $39.99.

Organizing this event has helped Sherman pursue her mission. “I can’t tell you how many lives my son has already saved, just because people know my story,” she says. “I have had so many moms reach out to me, some I don’t even know. They say because of what happened to your son, I now have put my child in swimming lessons.”

Get more updates on the event's Facebook page.