Queensland mum Shae Marr thought she was doing everything right when her son nearly drowned in a home pool last weekend.
Three-year-old Costa had just learnt to swim without floaties and was being closely watched by Shae’s partner Fabian, who was also in the shallow end of the pool at the time.
But the family’s afternoon quickly became a parent’s worst nightmare when an inflatable lilo overturned on the child’s head and he took a breath while under water.
Describing it as the ‘worst day of her life’, 24-year-old Shae is now urging other parents to think before they allow inflatables in the pool and to learn CPR before it’s too late.
How it happened
The mum was sitting outside her partner’s parents’ house in Emerald, Queensland, when her son followed his big brother into the pool.
The two boys were happily playing with Fabian watching on when an inflatable lilo toppled over Costa’s head and the little boy went below the water’s surface.
“He just wasn’t strong enough to push it off of him and so in that couple of seconds that he was down, he had taken a breath and filled his lungs up with water,” Shae told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“One second was all it took.”
Luckily, Fabian noticed Costa go under straight away and managed to lift him out of the pool just in time.
However, the three-year-old had swallowed too much water and after initially appearing fine, he began to vomit and then fell unconscious, turning purple and frothing at the mouth.
“It was terrifying, absolutely horrible,” Shae said.
“He was getting no oxygen at all. He couldn’t breathe.”
While Fabian’s mother called an ambulance, he began administering CPR to the child. It took him two goes at CPR before Costa finally started breathing again.
“He was awake but still a little but purple. He opened his eyes but was lethargic and struggling to remain conscious,” Shae said.
An air ambulance airlifted Costa to hospital in Rockhampton, where they thankfully stabilised his oxygen levels.
“Their biggest worry then was secondary drowning and pneumonia. By some miracle he woke the next morning 100% himself and the doctors were happy for him to go home,” the mum continued.
“In the hospital, I was still very numb and trying to stay strong but then as soon as we got home and we were out of the danger, I just broke down that night.”
Thought it wouldn’t happen to them
Shae said she never thought something like that would happen to her family because she and her partner are ‘so vigilant’ about watching the kids in the pool.
“The kids are never allowed in the pool without being watched, especially the little ones,” she continued.
“I could have easily had a very different week this week. It could have all gone so wrong.
“We had done everything right. We were watching him. We were there. We throw him in the pool and he goes under but he usually holds his breath, it was just this time he didn’t.
“We thought we had done everything right.”
Warning for other parents
Shae went on to warn parents about the dangers of inflatables and how important CPR training is.
“Take the inflatables out of the pool and learn CPR because that is definitely what saved my son’s life,” the mum said.
“It took a second, under supervision, for me to almost lose my son. I never thought it would happen to me, no one ever does. I’m one of the lucky ones but not everyone is so lucky.”
Got a story tip? Send it to email@example.com
Or sign up to our daily newsletter here.