'It all happened so quickly': Qld mum's warning after toddler son almost drowns

Supplied
Supplied 

As an active member of lifesaving on the Gold Coast, Jane Moana never thought she'd have to put her CPR skills to the test on her own family.

But in February 2018, she experienced every parent's worst nightmare when she found her 18-month-old son floating in her parent's pool and frothing at the mouth. 

"It all happened so fast," Jane tells Essential Baby, "We were visiting my parents at their home and I left Zac to wander, knowing they had a legally fenced pool gate.It was probably less than two minutes when I realised Zac was no longer close, my mother's intuition kicked in and I went directly to the pool." 

Jane and Zac (Supplied)
Jane and Zac (Supplied) 

"I saw Zac floating unconscious and frothing at the mouth. Within seconds I was in the pool screaming for help and starting to administer CPR as I couldn't feel his pulse."

By the time the ambulance arrived, Moana had administered four rounds of CPR. 

"I could feel Zac give me a tiny squeeze and bite down on my hand when I tried to clear his airways, but he wasn't opening his eyes," she recalls. "When the paramedics began to treat him, he vomited lots of water."

Fortunately, the paramedics managed to stabilise Zac and put him on oxygen, before being rushed to hospital.

"That night in hospital was the longest night of my life," Moana explains. "They tested Zac for everything possible, brain injuries, damaged lungs and heart issues. Miraculously, Zac was ok."

While her little boy was lucky enough not to sustain any permanent damage, the experience has left its mark on Moana. 

Advertisement

"I didn't want to talk about it for a long time," she says. "A noise or something that triggers the memory and that terrible moment comes flooding back. You still wonder sometimes 'what if'.

Now the gold coast mum-of-five is a strong advocate for learning CPR and is warning parents to never be complacent.

"You never think it will happen to you and I was certainly one of those parents," she says. "Keeping a constant eye on kids in the pool and knowing CPR, checking your pool surrounds is something all pool owners need to do regularly – at least four times a year at a minimum."

Jane's five kids (suuplied)
Jane's five kids (suuplied) 

She adds: "We still don't know how Zac gained access to my parent's pool so now I make sure there is nothing that can get in the to compromise their safety."

"Make sure your gates and fences are still self-closing and self-latching, that everything is in good order and that there's nothing a child could climb on to gain access to the pool.

The fact remains that kids under five are the most at risk for backyard drownings, with one in three (33%) parents admitting that a family member has had a near drowning experience involving a backyard pool.

Zac (Supplied)
Zac (Supplied) 

Despite this, new research from D&D Technologies has shown that a third of parents are only checking the safety of their pool area once a year or less. 

The study also revealed the main reasons for this lack of diligence include not knowing what parts of the pool area to check (19%), simply forgetting (18%), and not having enough time (10%).

Child water safety advocate Laurie Lawrence said he was shocked by the level of complacency among pool owners and urges everyone to check the safety of their pool gates during 'National Check Your Pool Gate Month' this December. 

"We know that kids who drown most commonly gain access to the pool area through a faulty fence or gate and this is something that should not be happening", Laurie said.

"Pool owners need to check their fences, gates, latches and hinges regularly, as a gate that is not self-closing and self-latching provides instant and often undetected access for toddlers to the pool area."