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  • Writer's picturePPCD

This can happen to anyone.

"Six months ago, the scariest thing ever imaginable happened. My almost 2-year-old daughter had fallen into our pool.

I was outside with my daughter and our new puppy. I looked away, 15 seconds, to get the puppy and my daughter had fallen in.

We always have our pool net on. This day we didn’t.... there is no excuse on why we didn’t put it back on.

My husband is a firefighter and he was at work. When I made that dreaded call to 911, my husband heard "drowning" and our address over dispatch.

I began CPR and tried to get the water out of her. She was unconscious. I thought she was going to die. My thoughts went straight to thinking about her not making it, my life without her, literally a mother’s worst nightmare.

During the very scary ambulance ride, she awakened and began crying. After hours in the ER, we were discharged home. Her x-rays looked good so they said no need to be admitted.

Since then, I have had to deal with the aftermath of everything emotionally. The flashbacks, anxiety, and guilt I felt to let this happen. The last 6 months have been so draining, but has led to a great deal of growing.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, one of our friends kept telling my husband and I that we needed to enroll our daughter in self-rescue swim lessons. We didn’t see a need for it at the time and kind of forgot about it. Then the day before the incident, they were at our house and we all talked about it again. For a second time, we didn’t put too much thought into it.

She fell in the very next day. RIGHT AFTER we got out of the ER, I called my friend and asked if she could send us info on these swimming lessons.

For 6 weeks, Monday-Friday for 10 min a day, we committed to self-rescue survival swim lessons. It’s truly amazing seeing your child able to save themselves in the water. Harlynn hated the swim lesson for about the first 3 weeks, but then she walked over to her instructor Gaylynne and willingly got in the water. She is now competent in the water and extremely proud of herself.

I want to show parents that this can happen to anyone. I view myself as a complete helicopter mom and am always so careful and aware. This day, I was not, and the guilt I still feel is unbelievable. If our story can save one child or get one child into a high-quality swim lesson, it was worth sharing.

Please please please hear me. Water is scary, and things happen in a blink of an eye. I will never feel 100% at ease around a pool after what happened with my daughter, but it does give me some relief knowing she knows what to do if she is ever in that situation again!

Please chose these swimming lessons for your young children."

Story sent to us from Danielle Derner, Northern California

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 drowning can happen fast. In this case, 15 seconds.

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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