Olympic alpine skier Bode Miller and his wife Morgan Beck Miller have a powerful warning for all parents after the tragic death of their 19-month-old daughter Emeline, who drowned in a backyard pool accident in June.
Just five weeks later, the couple sat down with Savannah Guthrie at their home in California for an emotional talk about their loss, urging parents to take the dangers of drowning seriously.
“I can attest from firsthand experience now that it’s unbelievably quick and it’s unbelievably sneaky,” said Miller on Today Friday.
“You’d think it’d be, like, some weird circumstance or some strange thing,” the 40-year-old athlete added in the interview, which airs in full on Monday’s Today. “And, it’s not. It just happens in the blink of an eye.”
Added Beck Miller: “And it is literally — a child under 30 pounds can drown in 30 seconds. And I just keep counting to 30 in my head. That was all I needed. And so, it’s one of those things where, as a parent now, when you go to someone else’s house, survey the home to see if it’s a safe place for your child to be.”
On June 9, Emeline drowned in a pool around 6:30 p.m. in Coto de Caza, California.
The Orange County Fire Department said at the time that paramedics rushed to the scene and performed CPR before transporting her to a nearby hospital, where she was unable to be resuscitated. Her cause of death was classified as a drowning.
While Miller was not present when the accidental drowning took place, his wife was just steps away inside of the home when their daughter went “missing for just a short amount of time.”
Beck Miller pulled her daughter out of the pool, and she and friends started CPR before paramedics arrived. Orange County Fire Authority captain Steve Concialdi said the little girl’s mom then “rode in the front of the ambulance to the hospital.”
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Miller and Beck Miller married in 2012 and have a 3-year-old son, Nash Skan. Miller is also a father to two children from previous relationships: son Samuel, 5, and daughter Neesyn, 10.
Weeks before Emeline’s death, the couple announced they were expecting their third child together on Instagram.
Both have been vocal about their loss on social media.
“We want to thank our friends, family and every one of you who sent a message, said a prayer or donated for the overwhelming expression of support — we are truly touched and blessed,” both shared via Instagram on June 19, captioning pictures with their late daughter.
A GoFundMe and meal train were set up for the family, raising tens of thousands within days.
“Our midwives started a gofundme campaign to raise funds and we intend to donate these funds raised to worthwhile causes connected to water safety education,” Miller wrote on Instagram. “We are inspired to make our baby girls memory go forth and help prevent as many drownings as possible. We will post more soon on our plans and efforts.”
RELATED VIDEO: Bode Miller’s Wife Speaks Out After Toddler’s Death: ‘I Pray No Other Parent Feels This Pain’
On July 17, Beck Miller implored parents to read a story written by another parent who lost her son when he drowned on a recent family vacation.
“It’s been 37 days since I’ve held my baby girl,” she wrote in a candid Instagram. “I pray to God no other parent feels this pain. My heart is with you @nicolehughes8 as we walk this journey together. And thank you @scarymommy for helping us spread awareness.”
“Drowning is the NUMBER ONE cause of death in children ages 1-4. We talk about vaccinations, car seats, organic foods, screen time, etc at length…but not the number one risk your children’s’ lives face…a silent killer,” she added. “It takes SECONDS. Please share and help us spread awareness. It’s the first step to preventing these types of tragedies. #drowning #drowningprevention #truthaboutdrowning.”
Today airs weekdays, beginning at 7 a.m., on NBC.
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