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Valley Center toddler recovering after near drowning in back yard pool

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 22:27:42-04

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. (KGTV) - A Valley Center mom is grateful her daughter is alive, days after discovering her two-year-old girl floating in the back yard pool.

"It's every mother's worst nightmare and the images plays in my mind a lot," said Emily Friske.

That nightmare began with a very ordinary afternoon on Monday, inside a Valley Center home. Friske finished feeding her baby and two-year-old daughter Addie. Friske thought she heard Addie follow her husband into the bedroom. Her husband thought Addie was with Friske in the living room. Minutes later, Friske followed her crawling infant to the back door.

"The door was partially open and Addie's clothes were lying on the ground," said Friske.

Soon after, she was rushing into the back yard. Her heart stopped. Addie was in the pool.

"She was blue, not moving, and floating on her side in the shallow end," said Friske.

She had no pulse and wasn't breathing. A frantic Friske, a former EMT, and her husband both performed CPR for a total of about 11 minutes before an ambulance arrived.

"My husband kept yelling, 'Adelaide, Adelaide, Adelaide' with every compression. He was yelling, 'Stay with us!'" said Friske.

It wasn't until Addie was in the ambulance - about 30 minutes after she was discovered - that she started breathing again. In the ICU, doctors told the couple that brain damage was likely, possibly severe. On Tuesday, they took Addie off the ventilator and waited.

"She reached out for her blanket and said, 'Addie blanket.' The doctors and I looked at each other, and we clapped and cried," said Friske.

After a battery of encouraging tests, Friske is hopeful Addie will make a full recovery. Friske is sharing Addie's story for other families, many staying at home during the hot summer months. She urges them to learn CPR and learn from her.

"My message to parents is to be as vigilant as you can. It can happen in an instant," said Friske.

Friske says Addie could go home Saturday. She remains weak and will need physical therapy and some speech therapy. A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help the family with expenses.