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‘Living miracle’: Mom shares message after near drowning of 3-year-old daughter

She thanks the hospital staff for getting her daughter back to full strength.
After a near drowning of her 3-year-old daughter, a local mother is sharing her story to warn...
After a near drowning of her 3-year-old daughter, a local mother is sharing her story to warn other parents.(Provided by Family)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - After a near drowning of her 3-year-old daughter, a local mother is sharing her story to warn other parents.

“She was right there at the ladder at the deep end, my thoughts she went in after the toy and was holding onto the ladder thinking she could,” said Kristina Andrews.

Andrews says she was on-call at the hospital July 7. It was around 8:30 p.m., she says, when she looked down to check her phone.

She’d already given instructions for her two daughters - 10 and three - and 10-year-old niece to clean up. In those quick seconds, her 3-year-old managed to slip from her side.

“Something just came to me and said look up,” Andrews said.

When she looked up, there was a sight she’ll never forget. Floaties that were supposed to be on Tara Elizabeth were not. They were next to mom.

The toddler was in the family pool and not breathing.

“Being a medical professional, I always thought you’d hear them if they splashed. I would know if my kid was going to drown. Sadly, that was not the case,” she said.

After jumping in the pool, Andrews says she quickly started CPR. Tara Elizabeth was turning purple, she said.

Andrews attempted child CPR for four minutes, but that didn’t work. She switched to the adult CPR technique and mouth-to-mouth for seven minutes - that ended up saving her daughter’s life.

“It was after seven minutes of me performing adult CPR and mouth-to-mouth, that my 3-year-old daughter finally threw up most of the water and took a breath and began faintly crying,” she said.

First-responders soon arrived at the pool.

“When we arrived, the mother had already got a return of circulation to the child. That was very comforting to know she had done most of the work before we arrived,” said Henry Parham, an Atwell VFD firefighter.

“Honestly, one of the worst calls I have to go to dealing with a child, you never want to go to one,” added Rowan County Sheriff deputy James Corriher.

Tara Elizabeth was first taken to CMC Northeast then by air to Novant Presbyterian, which is where Andrews is employed.

She had to be incubated and sedated. The next morning, the tubes were able to come out.

After a near drowning of her 3-year-old daughter, a local mother is sharing her story to warn...
After a near drowning of her 3-year-old daughter, a local mother is sharing her story to warn other parents.(Provided by Family)

Andrews has this advice for other parents.

“Even when you’re out going to get in the car to leave, don’t take your eyes away for a second. Even if it’s to leave, it’s something I will live with,” she said.

She thanks the hospital staff for getting her daughter back to full strength. Andrews and both first responders recommend parents learn CPR, in case of an emergency.

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