My son died from cold water shock – but others don’t have to


Fiona Gosling’s son Cameron died after jumping into cold water on a hot summer’s day in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

Nearly four years after losing the 14-year-old, Ms Gosling is keen to warn other children of the dangers of “cold water shock”.

It will never happen to me – something I have said many times.

5 July 2015 was an exceptionally hot day.

Cameron had spent the night at his friends and came home around 12pm.

He had a sandwich and said he was going to the skate park.

All the boys went out and the house was quiet and chilled.

At 4.30pm, I was in the car when I received a text from my other son Curtis.

It read: “Cameron’s jumped in the river and hasn’t come back up – we can’t find him!”

My heart racing, I sped down to where I thought Curtis said the boys were with the fire service, which was nowhere near to the actual site – all I could do was stop and wait.

Time went by so slowly – but two hours later, I remember being sat by myself when there was a sudden downpour of rain.

In my heart, I knew then he was not coming home the way he left home that day.

Waiting seven hours to identify one of your children is the worst thing in the world – reality hit hard then.

Days passed in a blur, but after speaking to the coroner, she explained that Cameron had died from cold water shock – which can affect breathing and movement – even among strong and confident swimmers, like Cameron.

Not knowing anything about cold water shock, I began researching and teaching myself and my family exactly what it was.

According to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, anything below 15C (59F) is defined as cold water.

On a hot summer’s day four years ago, Cameron’s heart stopped as soon as he entered the water, which he had not acclimatised to first.

Durham County Council invited me to a meeting and the “Dying To Be Cool” campaign was created.

I began going to schools to teach children exactly what can happen while playing around in open water.

I do not believe telling young people to stay away from water works – but giving them advice on what to do before entering the water, is much more beneficial – and it works.

The advice I give is to take five minutes to paddle in the water, splash yourself – bring your body temperature down so it is not a shock when you go in.

Learning to live without one of your kids is not the way life should be.

We have missed out on so much – Cameron will never drive the car we would have bought for his 18th birthday – and we will continue to miss out for years to come.

We will not get to see him marry or enjoy being grandparents to his children – something most people experience in life.

I am calling for schools to introduce lessons on the dangers of cold water shock.

It could just save a child’s life.


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