Austin mother's plea to parents this Labor Day weekend

Mother shares heartbreaking story

An Austin mother is sharing her heartbreaking story of losing her young daughter as people everywhere head to the lake and the pool this Labor Day weekend.

It’s a sobering reminder that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 18.

And while the water can be one of the most incredible places to unwind and enjoy life, it can also take away life just as quickly.

Nearly three years ago next month, Liz Owens was enjoying a quiet night with family in their South Austin home.

With her and her husband was their 17-month-old daughter, Averie.

"Averie was born May 23, 2012. And it was the best day of our lives,” Owens told KVUE through tears.

They called her their angel. Even at such a young age, Owens said Averie made everyone around her feel just a little bit brighter.

"She always had a smile on her face, even when she was sick she was smiling, she was so easy-going. Full of life."

But that night on October 2013, Owens was in the kitchen with her husband when, unbeknownst to them, Averie went into the backyard.

"We had been playing all day and I had started cooking, and we did not think Averie was able to open the doors that go to the backyard."

When they tried to find her it was moments too late.

"EMS came and they did a wonderful job. They worked so hard on her, but they weren't able to revive her,” said Owens.

Averie loved the water. She was raised swimming and going to the lake. That's why Owens believes she was trying to get into the pool when she drowned.

It happens quickly and quietly and it can happen to anyone.

"Drowning does not discriminate,” Owens explained.

Now their pool is covered in a protective net, and while nothing can bring back their little angel, Averie's death has given Owen's life a new purpose.

Owens is telling her story so no one else loses their little boy or little girl.

"So far this year already, 90 kids in Texas have lost their lives,” she said through tears. “It breaks my heart, and I do not want another family to go through that."

The Owens family is now part of an organization here called Colin's Hope named after another child who drowned in Austin.

They have an incredible amount of resources for your family to prevent drowning.

For more information, click here.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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