9-Year-Old Dies Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning While Boating, And Mom Pleads For Awareness

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One of a parent’s greatest fears is losing their child. And tragically for mom, Cassandra Free, this fear turned into a heartbreaking reality.

On June 6, 2020, Cassandra did the unfathomable. She said a final goodbye to her 9-year-old son Andrew Brady. 

The cause of death was initially deemed a drowning. However, the autopsy report later revealed it was a result of open-air carbon monoxide poisoning from the family’s boat.

And now, Cassandra is on a mission to prevent this unimaginable loss from happening to another family.

In a Facebook post that she is asking to go viral, Cassandra outlines what happened on that tragic day.

She starts her post with the following:

Make this go viral.

This is the hardest post I will ever have to write, but this information needs to be shared.

She goes on to write:

Andrew Brady died on June 6, 2020. He was only 9 years old. Most people don’t really know what happened and we hadn’t been fully willing to publicly share until we had autopsy answers. The news outlets said that he fell off the dock and drowned. We did not dispute this without having our own concrete evidence, but we knew that this wasn’t what happened. He wasn’t on the dock.

The family of 5 had spent the day on their boat, a Malibu Skier, enjoying lake life near their home in Broken Arrow, Okla. None of them were aware of the tragedy that was about to befall them.
 
While the rest of the family helped to unload the boat at the dock at the end of the day, Andrew crawled up onto the back edge of the boat, fell unconscious, and slipped into the water. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Andrew has been swimming since he was 2 years old- he was a STRONG swimmer- and yet, he didn’t even struggle.

 
While at St. Francis hospital in Tulsa, his 2 older brothers began experiencing headaches, nausea, and dizziness. They were admitted for acute carbon monoxide poisoning. Not only did Cassandra lose one son that day, but she also came dangerously close to losing all three.
 
Andy’s autopsy showed his carbon monoxide level was 72 percent.
Photo Credit: Facebook/cassi.free

His cause of death was “drowning due to acute carbon monoxide toxicity.”

Photo Credit: Facebook/cassi.free

There was zero chance of survival and their boat was to blame.

His so-called “drowning” was secondary to the fact that he would have never lived at that level. What does this mean?

It means that Andrew was not going to live regardless of what happened next. He was at the back of our Malibu Skier most of the day. Boats, even moving, create a backdraft of exhaust.

According to an investigation done by the CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health between 2000 and 2014, there have been over 800 boating-related poisonings. Of these, 140 have resulted in death.

Traveling at low speeds or idling in the water can cause carbon monoxide to draft up into the back of the boat. And it is this backdraft that resulted in Andy’s death.

Cassandra warns:

Backseat riders are especially vulnerable at low speeds and in long no-wake zones like the one we had to cross to return to the docks.

She had no idea that “open-air” carbon monoxide poisoning could happen. Her friends had no idea. And neither did I. Did you?

Our little Andy, our Dude, was probably slowly dying that afternoon/evening and we didn’t know it. 

Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. 

According to Cassandra’s post, Andy’s blood was so full of CO it was no longer capable of carrying oxygen.

Even if he hadn’t fallen into the water, he would have died in the car, or in the emergency room. There was nothing that could have been done to save him. And that information brings with it a modicum of peace for the family.

In sharing their story, Cassandra hopes to enlighten others about the danger of boats and CO. 

Now you know- at the loss of our precious child, you now know that it can happen and it does happen. It may be a one-in-a-million chance, but it exists. It happens in minutes- sometimes within 60 seconds.

And she is asking the boat manufacturers for change. She claims that manufacturers are aware of the dangers and modify newer models but fail to notify owners of used boats of any safety recalls.

Cassandra also suggests that “boats be subject to annual exhaust inspections and be retrofitted for human safety when solutions are available.”

She ends her post by saying:

Don’t let Andy’s death be in vain. Educate yourself and educate your friends and family. I do not want anyone else to ever experience what I am going through.

I’m begging you- please share this!!

Her post has been shared over 9K times.  

Our hearts are breaking for this family. It’s not supposed to be this way. No parent should ever have to bury their child. No mother should ever have to bury her son. Please heed her warning. Keep your babies safe. Keep them as far away from the engines of boats and ATVs as possible. Be aware of the risks.

It may just save your child’s life.

Make this go viral. This is the hardest post I will ever have to write, but this information needs to be shared.Andrew…

Posted by Cassandra Free on Friday, August 28, 2020

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am so sorry for your family’s loss. I am a boater myself. I thank you for sharing your story.
    May he rest in peace. God bless your family.

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