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Levi's Legacy

Ending the Epidemic of Pediatric Drowning

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Levi Hughes was 3 years old when he drowned on June 10, 2018. While on vacation with his family, he slipped out of a room filled with adults, down a flight of stairs, and fell into the pool. His mom split a brownie with him and had not finished the other bite of the brownie when she jumped into the pool to grab her son. In a blink, this very loved little boy became one of the thousands of children who drown each year in the United States. 


The group MOST at risk are toddlers between ages 1-4. Within that group, the vast majority drown during a non-swim time when they somehow slip away for a moment and reach water alone. Levi had always worn a puddle jumper while around water and did not know how to swim. 

Thank you for being here and for wanting to change how you keep your kids safe around water. 


Why are puddle jumpers dangerous? They are NOT US CoastGuard approved for use in pools (only for use on boats), actually hinder your child's ability to learn to swim, and create a false sense of security. Please watch this video and sign the letter from the NDPA urging retailers to stop the misinformation. 

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In 2021, the popular Mom platform, Scary Mommy, created two  mini documentaries on Levi's story and what we wish we had known about water safety. 

This one documents the path toward creating Water Guardians and working with the AAP.


This 7 minute video from Scary Mommy highlights the importance of layers of protection around water.


Levi's family- and others who have lost a child- feel strongly that the MOST important layer is the ability to self-rescue.  

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 I have 16 photos of what would be my son's final day of life, and in 14 of them, he is wearing a life jacket or puddle jumper: time-stamped photos of my boy, grinning proudly in his puddle jumper, as we unknowingly marched toward the end.

I have since learned that water safety goes far beyond the assumed foolproof advice of “watch your kids while swimming.” The vast majority of toddler drownings happen during a time they are not supposed to be near water but slip away momentarily. 

I will never stop wishing I had not momentarily turned to clean up dinner and had seen Levi slip out the door that night.


There are consistent, common factors around toddler drownings: children who drown usually loved water, relied on a puddle jumper, thought water was fun-- but did not know how to swim and survive if they reached water alone. 

More 1-4 year olds drown than ALL other age groups. 

My perception of water safety has shifted dramatically, and defines the mission of the Levi’s Legacy Foundation:  We must ensure that children who fall in the water do not die there. We owe it to future generations to change our culture’s mindset around water.

-Nicole Hughes, Levi's Mom



The mission of Levi's Legacy is to transform the way our culture approaches water safety in the US and to erase the stigma associated with drowning.
Drowning only takes seconds, and it is silent.  We believe every child should be taught a respect for water and the skills to survive. 


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