Craig and Hollie Dunn have a message for everyone: when it comes to children and water, be vigilant, always.
The Sydney couple lost their daughter Aria in December 2016. She was just 20 months.
Aria had been going to swimming lessons since she was six months old. The pool in the Dunns’ backyard had a fence that complied with all the regulations.
“She climbed through the doggy door, which she had never done before,” Hollie tells Mamamia, “and she climbed over the secure fence that we did have. She actually climbed over that fence and got into the water.”
The Dunns, who also have a son, Jett, have started a charity, Smiles 4 Aria. It’s aimed at promoting water safety and also supporting other people who have lost family members to drowning.
“So many people say to us, ‘I don’t know how you guys get up every single day – I would have curled up in the corner and that would have been it,’” Hollie says.
“One, we’ve got Jett, and two, Aria wouldn’t want us to just sit around and be miserable. She’s not here. We’ve got to live for her.”
The Dunns want to see government-funded swimming lessons for every child in Australia, and they also want first aid and CPR training to be funded by the government. They want to offer their support to other families who have suffered a drowning tragedy. Hollie says they could give advice on things like funeral arrangements.