Granger Smith Painfully Recalls Son River's Death in First On-Camera Interview Discussing Tragedy

Granger Smith and wife Amber's 3-year-old son River died in June 2019 in a drowning accident at the family's home, and while Granger and Amber have discussed the tragedy on social media and on their YouTube channel, The Smiths, the couple has not sat down for an on-camera interview until now. In an interview that aired on Today on Wednesday, reflecting on their son's death and how they are moving forward.

"I was 20 feet away," Granger recalled. "I was playing gymnastics with my daughter. He was outside of the locked gate with our other son. There wasn’t music playing; there wasn’t any kind of distractions. It was just a quiet, 7 p.m. summer evening. It was so silent. There wasn’t a splash; there wasn’t any kind of call for help. I just saw him. I turned around, and I saw him. I'm still mad at myself... we had a pool and I didn't know that it's the leading killer." Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children aged 1 to 4, and the Smiths shared that while River knew how to swim, at the time of his death, he was wearing a diaper and had shoes on.

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"Most of the times it happens when children are not supposed to be swimming," Amber said. "People will say, ‘Watch your child,’ but it happens so fast. It’s just it’s so fast, and it’s so quiet. It’s not like you see in the movies, splashing around. It’s just silent."

Granger and Amber have now made it their mission to educate other parents and are sharing their story in hopes of saving other children. Granger explained that before River's death, he would have thought that supervising your children was enough, but now, he knows "that no human being on this planet is capable to say that's enough because that requires 24/7. And if you add a gate, that’s not enough. If you add swimming lessons, that’s not enough. Pool alarm, it’s not enough."

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Granger and Amber are also parents to daughter London, 8, and son Lincoln, 6, and the Smiths explained that they knew they had to keep going for their older kids. "We just made a choice after it happened that we had to," Amber said. "We weren't going to let anything tear our family apart. Every day I open up my eyes and it's the first thing I think about, that he's gone. But we have to get up and face the day, because otherwise, what was it for?"