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Texas Teen Died While Using Cell Phone In The Bathtub, Family Hopes Their Tragedy May Help Others

Sometimes it seems like teenagers are physically attached to their cell phones, but for one family that attachment came at a tragic cost.

Madison Coe, 14, of Lubbock, Texas, died Sunday morning while either plugging in her cell phone while taking a bath, or using her plugged-in cell phone in the bathtub.

Her heartbroken family is hopeful her death will serve as a reminder to other parents to teach their children about cell phone safety and the importance of keeping electronic devices away from water. 

Texas Teen Died While Using Cell Phone In The Bathtub, Family Hopes Their Tragedy May Help Others

“I call her my shining star,” her grandmother, Donna O’Guinn, said. “She was very smart, a very good student in school. She just loved life.”

According to her family, Madison made a huge impact on those around her. Known for her positivity and kindness, Madison was involved in sports, and played first chair tuba in the band at her middle school. She was sweet to everyone and everyone loved her.

Her family says Madison was in the bathtub and grabbed her phone that was plugged into a charger in a bathroom outlet.

“There was a burn mark on her hand, the hand that would have grabbed the phone. And that was just very obvious that that’s what had happened,” O’Guinn said.

Madison’s family believes this terrible accident is something that could happen to anyone.

But now their mission is to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“This is such a tragedy that doesn’t need to happen to anyone else. And we want something good to come out of this as awareness of not using your cell phone in the bathroom as it is plugged in and charging,” O’Guinn said.

Here are 5 things we need to remind our kids about cell phone safety:

1. Keep electronics away from water: This is something most children know by the time they are six or seven, but it’s easy to forget that a cell phone is, indeed, an electronic device. Even though it seems like they should be protected by the lightening cord or the outlet, sometimes no amount of protection will prevent tragedy. Best to keep the cell phone out of the bathroom – the texting can wait.

2. Be aware of your surroundings while on the phone: There have been a number of kids who have walked into traffic because they weren’t paying attention while on their phones. We need to remind our children that the world around us doesn’t stop. While they’re walking, or in an unfamiliar place, the cell phone needs to be put away.

3. No driving and texting: Absolutely none. And we need to lead by example on this one. Never Ever text and drive while your kids are in the car, and make sure they know to never ever text and drive, ever!

4. Store phone in a safe place at night: Though the issue with batteries catching fire seems to be resolved, there is still no reason to risk injury. Make sure your kids know to store their cell phones away from their beds and away from glasses of water while they sleep.

5. Turn off location settings on photos: This one might seem heavy handed, but if the location settings are on in photos, anyone who views one of your child’s photos can see where it was taken. There are predators out there who will take advantage of this, so it is best to avoid the issue entirely.

Madison lost her life far too soon. She had the world ahead of her, and her family and friends will never be the same now that she has passed.

The best thing we can do is honor her by reminding our own children to use common sense and caution when using their cell phones. And remind them every single day just how very much they mean to us.

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Angela Downs

Saturday 5th of January 2019

As Madison Coe's mom, I just want to say thank you for writing this! My daughter was very intelligent, kind, loving, funny and touched the hearts of everyone she met in her 14 years on this earth! She wanted to change the world and I never expected it to be like this! My original Facebook post after her death went viral and worldwide! Thank you so much for continuing her story!!!!