Father's warning to parents after daughter almost drowns playing in mermaid tail

Photos: Twitter
Photos: Twitter 

Every little girl loves mermaids - but one father has taken to social media to warn about the dangers of popular mermaid tail outfits after his daughter nearly drowned while wearing one in a shallow paddle pool.

Adam Lisberg posted a thread detailing the terrifying experience to Twitter, showing a picture of his girls in their matching mermaid outfits, adding that they had owned something similar in the past but had worn them so much they wore out.

"She [Annabelle] and her big sister Ruby, love mermaids," he said. "So when we got an inflatable pool for the driveway for our isolated summer, we also ordered mermaid outfits. Aren't they cute? Two-piece swimsuits with matching tails."

The father of three also posted a picture of the inflatable pool, showing his daughter stepping out of it to show how just shallow it was.

"That's Annabelle stepping out — water was only up to her legs," he pointed out, acknowledging  "we know kids can drown in anything and we know to watch them ... and still, things can happen." 

Ruby and Annabelle in their mermaid swimmers

Ruby and Annabelle in their mermaid swimmers Photo: Twitter- Adam Lisberg

Talking to Today Parents, Mr Lisberg said he and his wife knew that with the mermaid tail blocking the girls' feet it's harder to kick or walk.

"And they knew that," he said."But we figured (the pool) is two feet deep. Even if they sit down they can get themselves up."

While the girls were in the pool, Mr Lisberg ran inside to the kitchen to help his five-year-old son but could still see the hear girls in the pool.


"I was in the kitchen overlooking the pool, window open so I could hear them," he explained on the Twitter thread, saying he was looking at them every couple of minutes.

Hearing the girls screaming once, he ran down to see what was going on, but it turned out to be a false alarm. However then Ruby ran into the kitchen saying that Annabelle wasn't moving.

The inflatable pool was shallow enough for the kids to stand and sit in it

The inflatable pool was shallow enough for the kids to stand and sit in it Photo: Twitter- Adam Lisberg

"Then Ruby came inside and told me calmly that Annabelle was underwater, and wasn't moving, so she pulled her out," Mr Lisberg said.

Then came every parent's nightmare.

"I looked outside — Annabelle was lying on the ground next to the pool, arms inside her mermaid tail, not moving. I picked her up, her eyes were wide open and she didn't react," the distraught dad said, saying he thought his daughter was dead.

Annabelle spend two days in ICU

Annabelle spent two days in ICU Photo: Twitter- Adam Lisberg

Mr Lisberg performed basic CPR on his daughter while his wife rang an ambulance. Fortunately, Annabelle responded to her dad's efforts by coughing up water.

After spending two days in paediatric ICU, Annabelle has fully recovered.

"I cannot imagine what it's like to be the parent who didn't get lucky like this," Mr Lisberg said, before going on to say he hopes that sharing his story will serve as a warning for  other parents.

"Frankly, I hope this haunts you," he said bluntly.

"I share it because I want you to never take any kids' safety for granted, especially in water, no matter how shallow, even for a minute."

"And maybe skip the mermaid tail. She'll be okay without it."

An Australian study in 2018 found children who wear mermaid tails are at greater risk of drowning because their ability to swim is reduced.

The Perth-based review commissioned by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and conducted by the Royal Life Saving Society of WA, compared the swimming performance of 25 children aged two to 12, before and after they wore the toys.