A father issued a strong warning to other parents about wearing mermaid tail swimsuits after his daughter nearly drowned in a swimsuit.
Adam Lisberg shared on Twitter the ordeal that resulted in his five-year-old daughter Annabelle spending two days in hospital.
He shared his “scary story”. a tweet thread in July 2020, “as a warning about kids, pools, and swimsuits, because I don’t want anyone else’s kids ending up in the ER or ICU like she did for two days,” he wrote.
The dad said he bought his two little girls, Annabelle and Ruby – then aged five and seven – matching mermaid swimsuits to wear in the inflatable pool they had set up in their driveway for the summer.
Adam also shared a picture of the pool that Annabelle climbs out of to show that the water was only “up to her legs.”
“We know we have to be careful and we know kids can drown in anything and we know we have to take care of them… and still things can happen,” he wrote.
The incident happened on a Sunday afternoon, with Adam describing watching the mermaids in the pool closely.
“I was in the kitchen overlooking the pool, the window was open so I could hear them, and I looked at them every minute or two,” the father recalls.
“Then Ruby came in and calmly told me that Annabelle was underwater and not moving, so she pulled her out.”
Adam recalled initially thinking it was a prank, but seeing his five-year-old “lying on the floor by the pool, arms in her mermaid tail, not moving,” confirmed the grim reality of the Situation.
The horrified dad recalled: “She was lying just like a TV mermaid washed up on shore. But when I picked her up, her eyes were wide open and she didn’t respond.”
At that moment, Adam thought his daughter was dead, he wrote.
Then Annabelle coughed a little, but her eyes still didn’t change.
Adam described wondering if it was “what it looks like when there’s no oxygen in the brain” and trying to recall techniques from a CPR class he took when seven-year-old Ruby was born.
The father sat down, put his daughter on his lap and patted her on the back, after which she began to cough and cry harder.
“Water, phlegm, then vomit. It’s all good,” he wrote. The father then called 911 while Annabelle cried some more but still couldn’t find “words”.
Adam later learned from his two daughters exactly what happened.
According to Ruby, Annabelle “had her mermaid tail pulled up to her shoulders and her arms tucked in.”
“And as Annabelle later told us, she tried to play potato by lying down in the water. But she couldn’t stretch out her hands to get up.”
Describing being haunted by his youngest daughter’s memories, the father said: “Annabelle said she tried to speak but the words just turned into bubbles. I will never get that image out of my head.”
He credited his seven-year-old for being “the best big sister in the whole world” and saving Annabelle’s life when she pulled her sibling’s head out of the water, before pulling her out of the pool entirely when she realized that she “didn’t come up”.
“She guessed that Annabelle was only underwater for about 30 seconds,” he wrote.
The little one still spent two days in the pediatric intensive care unit because, according to Adam, “even a little water in the lungs, especially if it contains chlorine, can trigger a delayed response while the body fights the injury.”
Annabelle “had a fever and increased heart rate and breathing for almost a day afterwards.” [and] “I needed oxygen to get going,” he continued.
The father described how he felt “indescribably happy” when Annabelle came home, still “the same giggly, bubbly, goofy, glitzy girl that she was”.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the less fortunate parent,” he wrote.
Adam concluded by saying he hopes this story will “haunt” other parents as well, so that they “never take their children’s safety for granted, especially in the water, no matter how shallow, even for a minute.”
“And maybe leave out the mermaid tail. She can manage without it,” he added.
Lee Heard, Charity Director of the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS), had previously warned parents against leaving their little ones unsupervised in a paddling pool.
“Unfortunately, drowning can happen very quickly so it’s important to make sure you don’t leave your child alone when they are in or near water,” he told The Sun.
And he advised you to empty the pool as soon as your child finishes swimming to avoid accidents while you’re not careful.
Just a few inches of water can be fatal, and drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children.
According to Lee, 26 children aged 14 and under died from accidental drowning in the UK in 2022.
A mother also recently warned other parents not to put their children in blue swimsuits for swimming because it makes them harder to spot in pool and sea water.
Advice for parents from the RLSS Drowning Prevention Society
To protect your children…
- Always lock gates and fences to prevent children from accessing the water.
- Cover all water tanks and drains securely.
- Empty the paddling pool and bucket immediately after use and turn them upside down.
- Always monitor bath time and empty the bath immediately afterwards.
- Find out about safety precautions before you go on holiday – is there a lifeguard on the beach?
- Check swimming spots for dangers and always read the signs.
- Always swim with your children and watch out for dangerous currents in the sea.
- Never use air mattresses and dinghies in open water – drownings occur every year when people are towed out to sea.
- Do not swim near rocks, piers, breakwaters or coral.
- Swim parallel to the beach and close to shore.