Nearly seven weeks after skier Bode Miller lost his young daughter in a drowning accident, the U.S. Olympian and his wife are speaking publicly for the first time to warn parents how quickly a child can be lost.
In an interview that aired in full Monday on the “Today” show, Bode Miller told NBC's Savannah Guthrie that the tragedy his family experienced happens “unbelievable quick.” Drowning is “unbelievable sneaky,” he said.
“You’d think it’d be some weird circumstance or some strange thing,” added Miller, who also has a 3-year-old son and is expecting a third child with wife Morgan Beck Miller in October. “It’s not. It just happens in the blink of an eye.”
Nineteen-month-old Emeline Miller fell into a neighbor’s pool on June 9. Paramedics were called to the home, but they were unable to resuscitate her. The young girl died the next day at an Orange County hospital.
Bode Miller described his daughter as "just a bear" with a powerful personality, and the Millers said they felt obligated to speak out to warn other parents about the dangers of drowning.
"We have the choice to live our days with purpose, to make sure that no other parent has to feel what we're feeling," Morgan Beck Miller said.
Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children 1 to 14 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in drownings among children 1 to 4 years old, most occur in home swimming pools.
“A child under 30 pounds can drown in 30 seconds. And I just keep counting the 30 in my head,” Morgan Beck Miller said in her emotional interview. “That was all I needed.”
She said that there is "not a day that goes by that I don't pray for the opportunity to go back to that day and make it different. But now we have this opportunity to make other parents' days different."
She offered advice to other parents: “When you go to someone else’s house, survey the home to see if it’s a safe place for your child to be.”