Saskatchewan

Prince Albert mother grateful for people who saved 5-year-old daughter's life by pulling her from pool

Tara McCallum is thankful for the people who made the swift decisions that saved her five-year-old daughter's life on July 14, when the girl was pulled from a swimming pool in Prince Albert.

Traylynn McCallum survived near drowning on July 14

Traylynn McCallum, centre, was pulled from a swimming pool at the Prince Albert Inn on July 14 while unresponsive. Bystanders pulled her from the pool and administered CPR until paramedics arrived on scene. (Matthew Garand/CBC)

Tara McCallum nearly lost her youngest daughter on her late mother's birthday, as the girl was pulled from a swimming pool unresponsive two weeks ago.

The five-year-old girl had jumped into the pool at the Prince Albert Inn on July 14 while her older brother, who was watching over her, stepped away for three minutes to use the restroom, the mother recalled.

Traylynn McCallum, who just celebrated her fifth birthday in June, saw other children going into the water so she wanted to join them, according to the girl's mother, who was in their motel room at the time. McCallum said the child does not know how to swim.

"I freaked out. I didn't know what to do," McCallum said of the moments after her 12-year-old son said the girl had drowned.

"I was just crying. I didn't know what to think."

McCallum said another parent pulled the girl from the water. When McCallum arrived at the pool, someone had performed CPR on the child and she was breathing again.

"I broke down crying when I [saw] her. I didn't know if she was going to be OK," she recalled.

Weeks later, Traylynn has recovered and isn't afraid of the water, McCallum said Friday. Traylynn has told her mother she still wants to go swimming.

McCallum said she is thankful for the bystanders and the paramedics who arrived on scene. Parkland Ambulance held a presentation in Prince Albert on Friday for rescuer awards and certificates of commendation.

Two of the rescuers were not in attendance at Friday's presentation, but McCallum said she would still like to extend her gratitude.

Parkland Ambulance said when they got the call around 8:30 that evening about a child not breathing after being found in a pool, ""the caller was frantic."

"Our medical communications team took charge to calm the caller and start CPR," a news release said.

Parkland Ambulance thanked the bystanders for being at the right place at the right time and pulling the "little lifeless child" from the water.

The organization said the employee who took the call, Danielle Henry, remained calm. Henry said the quicker CPR is started on a drowning victim, the better chance of them recovering. 

A news release from Parkland Ambulance said the girl had been experiencing cardiac arrest.

"It was quite uplifting when we found out when [paramedics] arrived on scene that she was waking up," Henry said. "It was a really good day because we don't get a lot of those when somebody isn't breathing."

The release warned about letting children near water edges, and that taking an eye off of them could lead to tragedy.

McCallum offers similar advice for kids and parents.

"Always go with an adult wherever you go, because it takes not even a minute to drown," she said. "You have to take care of your kids every second when they go swimming."

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