A dad’s cautionary tale about pool accessories and the importance of water safety is resurfacing online again, just in time for summer.
In a series of Twitter posts from July 2020, Adam Lisberg details his then 5-year-old daughter Annabelle’s near-drowning incident and the risks posed by mermaid tail swimsuits, which constrict the child’s legs and may put children at risk while in the water. Although his children had worn similar swimsuits in the past with no issues, this time was different.
While swimming with her older sister, Ruby (age 7 at the time), in a small kiddie pool with only two feet of water, Lisberg went inside briefly to attend to his young son.
“Every parent knows you have to watch every kid like a hawk, and you have to be careful all the time, but I thought, ‘I have two girls in the pool keeping an eye on each other, right below the kitchen with the window open so I can hear them. Meanwhile, I have a son who’s about to squish avocados all over the kitchen,'” Lisberg explained. “I figured it was safe to go up and make guacamole with him while looking out the window.”
A few minutes later, Lisberg’s older daughter came inside and said words no parent ever wants to hear around a body of water: “Annabelle isn’t moving.”
In a matter of moments, as Annabelle played a made-up game with her swimsuit called “playing potato” (in which she pulled her arms inside the suit), she had ended up under the water.
“She (Annabelle) pulled it up to her shoulders and ended up under the water,” Lisberg said. “She tried to reach for the part she could pull off, but couldn’t move her hands and bubbles came out when she tried to talk. I think that put her into shock — she just realized that she couldn’t do anything.”
Thankfully, big sister Ruby was able to pull her sister completely out of the pool before she came running for help. After calling 9-1-1 and performing CPR on his daughter, the paramedics and police arrived quickly and took Annabelle to the hospital, where she spent the next two days. Fortunately, Annabelle made a complete recovery.
Behind every cautionary tale around water is a simple message: the importance of safety, which includes keeping a constant eye on your child and researching pool accessories before they enter the water with your child. You simply can’t be too careful. It’s a message Adam Lisberg has taken to heart, as he wrote in his final Twitter post:
“So — thank you for reading this. Frankly, I hope this haunts you. I share it because I want you to never take any kids’ safety for granted, especially in water, no matter how shallow, even for a minute. And maybe skip the mermaid tail. She’ll be okay without it.”