Laura Forrester was sure to take all the proper safeguards with the backyard pool when she moved her family into their new Knoxville, Tennessee, home.
“We installed the safety fence and the kids knew never to go out there without an adult or babysitter,” she told told Knoxville NBC affiliate WBIR. “We installed beeps on the doors. We thought we had taken all the precautions.”
But despite her best efforts, her 2-year-old daughter Andie got around their security measures.
She fell into the pool while her mother’s back was turned and struggled to stay afloat. Luckily, her brother Gray, then 4, was there to save her.
He jumped in.
“She was doggy paddling ... I grabbed her tummy. I was trying to lift her so she could breathe,” now 5-year-old Gray Forrester told the Knoxville NBC station.
Andie said her brother was able to get her out of the pool.
“He saved me,” she said.
Their mom was shocked.
"Andie walked up and said, 'I falled in the pool! I falled in the pool!' She was soaking wet and I looked at Gray and he was soaking wet and I just panicked,” Forrester told WBIR's reporter. “It happened so fast, because they had just been with me not even five minutes ago."
Forrester said she believes it was a miracle Andie survived.
“I think in that moment for a 4-year-old to be able to react like that is a God thing. I think God was with Andie and Gray that day,” she said. “It's the only thing that makes sense because it was so remarkable.”
Forrester said when they first moved into the home, it was right around the time Olympic skier Bode Miller and his wife Morgan lost their daughter in a similar drowning incident. It made her even more cautious.
"It was heavy on my mind and heavy on my heart," she said to WBIR. "We had hammered it in their heads that they never go out there without a grown-up."
Now, Andie can save herself if she falls in again. Forrester immediately enrolled her in swim lessons after the incident.
She said she hopes other parents hear her story and do the same.
”If people hear this story and they live close to the water, the lake or a pool or whatever, consider signing up for (swim) class because no matter what precautions you take, it can still happen,” she said. “And I hope that maybe it could save somebody else’s life.”
This story was originally published in October 2019.