LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A Fort Myers mother is speaking out after her 3-year-old daughter nearly drowned in January, warning that if it happened to her family, it can happen to anyone.
This comes just days after a 2-year-old boy drowned in a kiddie pool at a Lehigh Acres home daycare.
Experts say the most common place your child can slip under the water is in your own backyard so it's important to take proper safety measures.
Buffy Hagood says she was with a group of people and her kids at a community pool a few months ago when the fun day took a terrible turn.
She says she had her eye on her older daughter who was swimming in the deep end. Her 3-year-old daughter Lauren was right beside her. Buffy says, "the next thing I know, my friend yelled "oh my God" and looked over and there she was, floating, face down and he jumped in grabbed her out and pulled her out and she was completely gray, her jaw was locked and she was unconscious and was not breathing."
She says Lauren must have taken off her float before she got back in the water. The little girl eventually began coughing up water and did regain consciousness before being taken to the hospital. Buffy says it felt like her daughter was under water for an eternity, but it turned out to only be about a minute. She stayed in the hospital for four days, and walked away completely fine.
"It completely boggles my mind. It's not like I left her and went to the bathroom or put her in in the pool and she didn't know how to swim and said get in the water. It's not like there was nobody else around. You can do all the right things and accidents can still happen. And that's what I didn't believe."
She says she hopes people can learn from her story that you can't take your eyes off your kids for even a second. "The only reason she's ok is because we really were there." She says she installed new door locks that lead to her patio and got Lauren a new float that she can't take off on her own.
Dr. Alex Daneshmand with Lee Memorial Health System works on young patients, like Lauren, who suffer potential drownings. He says, "its devastating, it really tears the family apart. One minute they have their child running around happy, having fun and the next minute we're talking to them about life-sustaining measures."
He says it only takes 1-2 inches of water for a child to drown, and only a few minutes to lead to a lifetime of brain damage, or even death.
"When they swallow the water, the body is set to protect itself by not letting more water in the lungs and that causes them to not get oxygen. And if they're not getting oxygen, the injury to the brain can happen," he says.
He says parents need to remember the ABCs of water safety. A- adult supervision, B- barriers, and C- CPR.
Last year, Lee Memorial Health System treated about 49 drowning or near drowning cases. Of those, 6 children died.