Granger Smith Opens Up About Son's Drowning


Country star Granger Smith has shared a warning for parents of small children on the one-year anniversary of the drowning death of his son River.

“It's not like the movies,” the 40-year-old singer told People, in an interview published this week. “It's so silent. There isn't splashing or gurgling or kicking. There wasn't even a splash going in.”

River, the youngest of Smith’s children with wife Amber, went into the pool at the family’s Texas home on June 4, 2019. He was in the water for between 30 seconds and two minutes – enough time to suffer catastrophic brain damage. He died two days later in hospital.

Smith shared the heartbreaking loss on Instagram on June 6, 2019. “Our family is devastated and heartbroken … Riv was special,” he wrote. “Everyone that met him knew that immediately. The joy he brought to our lives cannot be expressed and his light will be forever in our hearts.”

In an interview with Today that aired on Wednesday, Smith recalled being about 20 feet away from River at the time of the accident. “I was playing gymnastics with my daughter. He was outside of the locked gate with our other son,” Granger said. “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.”

Smith said he and his wife have since learned that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children aged 1 to 4.

“[If] you take every precaution you can, and you’re well-educated and you know how fast it can be, you’re much better off and you’re much better protected,” he told Today, adding that supervision is not enough. “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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