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2-Year-Old Drowns at Park During Family BBQ, Who Is to Blame?

Posted by on Jul. 7, 2014 at 9:17 AM
  • 14 Replies

2-Year-Old Drowns at Park During Family BBQ & Dirty Lake Is Blamed

by Lisa Fogarty

The Fourth of July weekend ended in tragedy for one New York City family. Their 2-year-old daughter fell into a park lake and drowned after wandering off with her cousin during a family BBQ celebration.

Ruhshona Kurbonova, who is the youngest child in a family that includes three brothers, reportedly walked off with her 3-year-old cousin while their families were picnicking by a boathouse near Prospect Park's scenic lake. The children were gone for an agonizing five hours, during which their parents, police, and several strangers -- who had gathered for their own barbecues -- searched the 585-acre park for them.

Cops found the older boy first -- and he was covered in the deep green algae that also coats the lake. And then every parent's nightmare: Ruhshona's body was discovered dead in the murky water.

It goes without saying, the toddler's mother was reportedly inconsolable over her little girl's death. Her uncle said the kids walked off and no one had any idea they were gone. I can see how that could happen because children -- particularly at that age -- really can escape in seconds if we don't keep them glued to our side at all times.

When something tragic happens, especially if it is the result of an accident, we often search for something to blame. But parkgoers didn't have to look very far this weekend to find a culprit: the "dirty" lake. Police reportedly had a difficult time finding the girl because the lake is covered with Azolla caroliniana, which forms a thick green film on top of the water and makes it very difficult to distinguish between the lake and the surrounding grassy areas.

Park officials say they skim the lake weekly with a weed harvester but that the algae always grows back.

It seems totally possible that the children were playing near the lake and accidentally fell into it because they were unable to see where the water begins and the land ends. And it's heartbreaking -- no parent should ever be forced to bury her child.

But there are only so many things that can be done to tame nature. This sad story serves as an important reminder to us that if we are spending leisure time with our children in parks or on mountains or in any other natural setting, we have to remember that these dangers exist.

Do you think the park could have done more to ensure this didn't happen or was this just a tragic accident?

by on Jul. 7, 2014 at 9:17 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Bajanmama
by on Jul. 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Tragic. Pointing fingers won't bring the poor child back, but maybe it would encourage the officials to fill in the lake, or build a little wall around it, and parents should also consider an alarm system. I think there was something you put on the kid and you the parent keep the receiver and when the child gets further than a certain distance from you an alarm sounded. It must be just horrifying not to know where your child is at that age. My teenaged son used to wander a few years back, run away from home every chance he got. I know the terror of suddenly realizing he is gone and I don't know how long. He has autism. Fortunately my neighbors all keep an eye out and call me if they see him outside alone. 

goldilocksbecky
by on Jul. 7, 2014 at 11:09 AM
2 moms liked this

While I'm not sure that "blame" is the word I'd use for something that was a tragic accident and has already caused the parents so much heartbreak . . .  The simple fact is, the adults are responsible for supervising young children and keeping them safe.

They were in a natural area, and with that comes innate dangers.  In nature, poision ivy grows, rocks work loose and crash down, bees sting, snakes and spiders bite, ledges and cliffs drop off quickly, rivers have fast currents and slipper rocks . . . and algae grows in ponds.  That's the nature of "nature".  If you want everything to be controlled and safeguarded and bubble wrapped and compliant to safety guidelines, stick to Chuck E. Cheese.  The real world doesn't come with safety barriers.  So, when you venture out into the real world with your kids, it's your job to be super vigilant in monitoring them.  

You can only change and sanitize the world to fit your needs so much.  There comes a point where you have to change your mindset and habits.

I will add that I think we'll see more and more of this because so many of the people who are becoming parents now have lived their whole life in a child-proofed, bubble-wrapped, artificially-controlled world and one of the consequences of that is that they don't develope a natural sense of danger and of the real consequences things. They've grown up thinking they can push the limits, defy gravity and physics and do things that should be scary without worry . . . Because they're used to everything having a safety net and that causes them to believe that they are invincible.  But the real world doesn't have a safety net and people are far from invincible.

It's a sad story all the way around.  

goldilocksbecky
by on Jul. 7, 2014 at 11:14 AM

So, should we fill in all the lakes?  Or build walls around them?  And what about the deer and other wildlife that use the lake to sustain life?  Talk about messing with nature/the eco-system.  

It's amazing that generations of human beings have managed to live along lakes and rivers for thousands of years . . . And sustain life from those lakes and rivers . . . But now we should fill them all in or build walls around them, because we can't manage to supervise our children. 

Quoting Bajanmama:

Tragic. Pointing fingers won't bring the poor child back, but maybe it would encourage the officials to fill in the lake, or build a little wall around it, and parents should also consider an alarm system. I think there was something you put on the kid and you the parent keep the receiver and when the child gets further than a certain distance from you an alarm sounded. It must be just horrifying not to know where your child is at that age. My teenaged son used to wander a few years back, run away from home every chance he got. I know the terror of suddenly realizing he is gone and I don't know how long. He has autism. Fortunately my neighbors all keep an eye out and call me if they see him outside alone. 


Bajanmama
by on Jul. 7, 2014 at 11:20 AM

I was talking about that particular lake, since it seemed to be a part of an area that was being maintained. And I didn't mean a high wall, but rather a pile of stones around it just sufficient to show that's where the land ended and the water began, since that seemed to be an issue. And yes you ought to watch your children but this has happened and the family is devastated. No sense in kicking them while they're down.

Quoting goldilocksbecky:

So, should we fill in all the lakes?  Or build walls around them?  And what about the deer and other wildlife that use the lake to sustain life?  Talk about messing with nature/the eco-system.  

It's amazing that generations of human beings have managed to live along lakes and rivers for thousands of years . . . And sustain life from those lakes and rivers . . . But now we should fill them all in or build walls around them, because we can't manage to supervise our children. 

Quoting Bajanmama:

Tragic. Pointing fingers won't bring the poor child back, but maybe it would encourage the officials to fill in the lake, or build a little wall around it, and parents should also consider an alarm system. I think there was something you put on the kid and you the parent keep the receiver and when the child gets further than a certain distance from you an alarm sounded. It must be just horrifying not to know where your child is at that age. My teenaged son used to wander a few years back, run away from home every chance he got. I know the terror of suddenly realizing he is gone and I don't know how long. He has autism. Fortunately my neighbors all keep an eye out and call me if they see him outside alone. 



goldilocksbecky
by on Jul. 7, 2014 at 11:43 AM
1 mom liked this

Yes, you're talking about "that particular lake", but where does it end?  Does that become the new norm . . . If someone drowns in a lake we fill it in?  Because just in my lifetime someone has drowned in every major lake in my area.  So, let's fill them all in.   And even a small pile of stones will inhibit the small animals that live in the area . . . Turtles, etc.  And who will be responsible for the upkeep of this wall?  And all the walls on all the other lakes that we've decided have to be walled in.  

A lake is a lake.  You can't change it in to something that it's not. If you go to the lake, expect it to be a lake.  If the innate nature of a lake doesn't fit your needs, go to a kiddie pool.  Or a park with a gated play area.

And nobody is kicking the family when they are down.  The first thing I said was that placing blame on a family that has already suffered such tragedy doesn't accomplish anything.  It's a tragic accident and I ache for these parents.  But going off half-cocked to instill a "fix" that causes bigger problems than the initial situation that it was intended to fix (which is what filling in or walling up a lake will do) isn't the answer.  The logical, common-sense solution would be for people to monitor their children more closely in innately dangerous settings.  Your level of supervision needs to match the danger of the setting.  If I'm in a parking lot, I have my toddler by the hand.  At a lake, a child that age needs to be at arms length and in your sight at all times.  It's exhausting, but necessary.  If you're not up for that, skip the lake and choose a more "controlled" environment.

Quoting Bajanmama:

I was talking about that particular lake, since it seemed to be a part of an area that was being maintained. And I didn't mean a high wall, but rather a pile of stones around it just sufficient to show that's where the land ended and the water began, since that seemed to be an issue. And yes you ought to watch your children but this has happened and the family is devastated. No sense in kicking them while they're down.

Quoting goldilocksbecky:

So, should we fill in all the lakes?  Or build walls around them?  And what about the deer and other wildlife that use the lake to sustain life?  Talk about messing with nature/the eco-system.  

It's amazing that generations of human beings have managed to live along lakes and rivers for thousands of years . . . And sustain life from those lakes and rivers . . . But now we should fill them all in or build walls around them, because we can't manage to supervise our children. 

Quoting Bajanmama:

Tragic. Pointing fingers won't bring the poor child back, but maybe it would encourage the officials to fill in the lake, or build a little wall around it, and parents should also consider an alarm system. I think there was something you put on the kid and you the parent keep the receiver and when the child gets further than a certain distance from you an alarm sounded. It must be just horrifying not to know where your child is at that age. My teenaged son used to wander a few years back, run away from home every chance he got. I know the terror of suddenly realizing he is gone and I don't know how long. He has autism. Fortunately my neighbors all keep an eye out and call me if they see him outside alone. 




momofnatalie
by Bronze Member on Jul. 7, 2014 at 4:40 PM

What a horrible accident.  I know when I bring my kids to the park that has a lake in it, I worry so much about this happening.  Both my kids want to chase the ducks and I've stopped my 4 yr old from jumping in the murky water before. I know when a family gets together, you might get a false sense of security that others will help watch your children.  I know that sometimes my older niece or nephews will take my baby and they are pretty responsible.  However, if there is open water, I would probably assign DH to watch one and I would watch the other.  

Bajanmama
by on Jul. 7, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Turtles can climb over rocks. But I realise what kind of place it is now. A park here is a controlled space, not wild like this apparently is.

Quoting goldilocksbecky:

Yes, you're talking about "that particular lake", but where does it end?  Does that become the new norm . . . If someone drowns in a lake we fill it in?  Because just in my lifetime someone has drowned in every major lake in my area.  So, let's fill them all in.   And even a small pile of stones will inhibit the small animals that live in the area . . . Turtles, etc.  And who will be responsible for the upkeep of this wall?  And all the walls on all the other lakes that we've decided have to be walled in.  

A lake is a lake.  You can't change it in to something that it's not. If you go to the lake, expect it to be a lake.  If the innate nature of a lake doesn't fit your needs, go to a kiddie pool.  Or a park with a gated play area.

And nobody is kicking the family when they are down.  The first thing I said was that placing blame on a family that has already suffered such tragedy doesn't accomplish anything.  It's a tragic accident and I ache for these parents.  But going off half-cocked to instill a "fix" that causes bigger problems than the initial situation that it was intended to fix (which is what filling in or walling up a lake will do) isn't the answer.  The logical, common-sense solution would be for people to monitor their children more closely in innately dangerous settings.  Your level of supervision needs to match the danger of the setting.  If I'm in a parking lot, I have my toddler by the hand.  At a lake, a child that age needs to be at arms length and in your sight at all times.  It's exhausting, but necessary.  If you're not up for that, skip the lake and choose a more "controlled" environment.

Quoting Bajanmama:

I was talking about that particular lake, since it seemed to be a part of an area that was being maintained. And I didn't mean a high wall, but rather a pile of stones around it just sufficient to show that's where the land ended and the water began, since that seemed to be an issue. And yes you ought to watch your children but this has happened and the family is devastated. No sense in kicking them while they're down.

Quoting goldilocksbecky:

So, should we fill in all the lakes?  Or build walls around them?  And what about the deer and other wildlife that use the lake to sustain life?  Talk about messing with nature/the eco-system.  

It's amazing that generations of human beings have managed to live along lakes and rivers for thousands of years . . . And sustain life from those lakes and rivers . . . But now we should fill them all in or build walls around them, because we can't manage to supervise our children. 

Quoting Bajanmama:

Tragic. Pointing fingers won't bring the poor child back, but maybe it would encourage the officials to fill in the lake, or build a little wall around it, and parents should also consider an alarm system. I think there was something you put on the kid and you the parent keep the receiver and when the child gets further than a certain distance from you an alarm sounded. It must be just horrifying not to know where your child is at that age. My teenaged son used to wander a few years back, run away from home every chance he got. I know the terror of suddenly realizing he is gone and I don't know how long. He has autism. Fortunately my neighbors all keep an eye out and call me if they see him outside alone. 





Josie444
by New Member on Jul. 7, 2014 at 7:40 PM

That is very sad and heartbroken.  I am surprised that a 2 year old and a 3 year old can wonder off and no one - NO ADULTS saw them.  Someone would see the children near a dirty lake and would either ask them to move away from it or call their parents' attention.  I think ALL adults in that gathering should pay some attention to ALL the children specially that young a TINY little attention and noticed that they are too close to the lake.  In my opinion, things like this SHOULD NOT happen... Just really sad for all us parents to even have to read such horrible story.

christina122952
by on Jul. 7, 2014 at 8:25 PM
Very sad story. The parents should have keeping an eye on them and maybe this would not have happened.
SarahSuzyQ
by Bronze Member on Jul. 7, 2014 at 9:15 PM

I really hate to even enter into casting blame... It was clearly a tragic accident, and no I don't think park officials can be held liable. While we have all had toddlers and know how difficult it is to keep tabs on them at all times, the reality is that the parents chose to take the kids to the park and were thus responsible for supervising them. How heartbreaking for this family. :(

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