As temperatures warm up across the country, thousands of families are readying backyard swimming pools for a brand new season of summer fun. Kids everywhere are starting to daydream about splashing, diving, cannonball contests, and traditional water games like Marco Polo.
In the U.S., southern states like Florida get to enjoy pool weather longer than most other regions. And recently, one Florida mom decided to share the details of a very scary swimming pool experience so other families would know to remain alert in similar situations.
Her name is Lacey Grace, and she lives with her family in Sarasota. The incident itself took place right down the street from her home, at her parents’ house.
Lacey’s kids simply thought of it as another great Saturday at grandma’s. The whole gang decided to go for a recreational dip in the pool.
“We were all playing, it was a bunch of us,” recalls Grace. “We were all just playing, taking the noodle and blowing water in each other’s faces.”
One of the participants was Grace’s 4-year-old daughter, Elianna. Grace explains that the youngster simply happened to take in a surprise mouthful of water, and swallow it.
It’s really just something that tends to occur when people are splashing around in swimming pools. Maybe it’s even happened to you or your own kids.
And Elianna seemed to bounce back almost instantly. “She immediately vomited,” says Grace, “so we were thinking okay good, it came up.”
Indeed, video footage directly following the occurrence shows a happy 4-year-old girl who looks absolutely fine. Elianna’s mother reports that even the next day, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Then on Monday, the girl started running a temperature. When the fever hadn’t resolved by Wednesday, Grace decided a trip to the doctor was in order.
Grace explains that she was hoping for the best, but had a subtle sixth sense that something was terribly wrong. Sure enough, she recalls, the concerned doctor came in and told them to rush Elianna to the nearest emergency room without delay.
That’s a frightening statement no parent ever wants to hear. Accordingly, Grace made a frantic beeline for Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System.
Even at that point, Elianna had already begun experiencing urgent distress. “Her skin turned purple, her heart rate was through the roof, her oxygen level was dropping,” Grace told local CBS news affiliate WTSP.
And over and over in Grace’s panicked mind, an article she’d read began swimming to the surface. It involved a Texas boy around the same age as Elianna.
Grace remembered reading that the boy had died from a condition known as secondary drowning. It occurs when someone inhales water through the mouth or nose, and unexpelled liquid makes its way into the lungs.
Thanks to Grace’s quick thinking, doctors jumped into action immediately. Intensive intervention managed to save Elianna, who was eventually released from the hospital on a continued course of antibiotics.
While the little girl still tires easily and her appetite has yet to return completely, Grace and her husband are overjoyed at Elianna’s positive prognosis. The grateful mom told WTSP that the boy in Texas had passed away after a mere seven days.
“She was on day four,” Grace says of her daughter. “I don’t know what would’ve happened if we waited.”
That’s why Grace decided to come forward with her story. Her hope is that other parents will remain alert to any worrisome signs when their own kids jump in the pool.
“If you think something is off,” says Grace, “I encourage you to get them checked out.” Sometimes, a mother’s intuition truly does make all the difference.