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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Jones Pantaleon

Sunday Survival Story! Central Texas family warns of dangers of drowning in small bodies of water

by Brittany Ford

Sunday, November 17th 2019

Three-year-old Gabriel Candau is just like any other curious toddler. But it was just a few months ago that his curiosity almost led him to drown at a friend's pool party.

It's something his father, Connor Candau says happened in a matter of seconds. "I kind of took three or four steps from where I was sitting, and looked down in the hot tub and jumped straight in. He was under the water. He was not floating he was sinking," he said.

Candau says CPR was performed to try to revive Gabriel. "He was out. He was unconscious, lifeless, blue lips the whole thing," he said.

"He was in a deep coma for the first few days of his hospitalization, wasn't moving at all," said Dr. Renee Higgerson with St. David's Children's Hospital. "We told his parents the first 24 to 48 hours we weren't sure he was going to live."

Dr. Higgerson says pools and lakes are not the only danger. "All it takes is a couple inches of water, places you would never think of," she explained. "Certainly, bath tubs all year-round, hot tubs all year round. Even less water than what you see in a hot tub you can drown in."

17 of 87 child drownings in Texas this year were in a small body of water -- a bathtub, even a bucket.

Gabriel's parents say they're grateful he was able to make a full recovery.

We, at the PPCD, are grateful for this child’s recovery and to be able to share this story. We are also grateful to this family for their gracious sharing of this story and their intention to help other families by raising awareness. They point out the important message of how little water it takes to drown in and how we must be vigilant around all water sources, bodies, etc.

Fortunately, the layer of protection that made the difference in this accident was CPR. Although CPR doesn’t prevent the accident from occurring, it proves to be vital in drowning survivals. For more information on implementing layers of protection, please visit

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