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Mom's viral post on drowning warns about the different signs of struggle

Adults at the pool thought the 5-year-old was playing a breath-holding game.
/ Source: TODAY

No one realized 5-year-old Adam Leeson was drowning.

“He looked like he was PLAYING,” Adam’s mom, Maribeth Leeson, explained in a Facebook post that has gone viral with more than 120,000 shares. “When I found him myself, 2 feet from adults who were in the pool, my first thought was that it wasn’t him, that it was someone else’s kid who was seeing how long they could hold their breath.”

But it wasn’t someone else's kid. And it wasn't a game.

"His limp, gray, lifeless body was pulled from the pool and it was every mother's worst nightmare. He was dead," Leeson wrote. "I heard screaming, and after a minute realized the screaming was coming from me. I watched in slow motion as people rushed to him, as he was laid on the concrete, as CPR was started.

After what felt like an eternity, Adam opened his eyes. He had a pulse.

“A million thoughts continued racing through my mind,” Leeson wrote. “I was sure even if he was saved, it was too late. I was sure machines were going to be doing the living for him.”

Adam spent just three days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, before returning home to his twin brother Gabe and their siblings Drew, Miriam, and Zachary.

Adam Leeson.Maribeth Leeson/Facebook

Later, Leeson learned that Adam slipped and fell into the pool when she was helping his sister into her bathing suit.

“Before going to any pool, first make sure your kids know not to get in until the adult who is responsible for them is ready to watch them. That sounds like common sense, but I was thinking because so many adults were present, he was fine, but those adults didn’t know his swimming ability so they didn’t question when he was under water,” Leeson revealed.

Leeson noted that drowning doesn’t always involve “splashing, thrashing, or screaming.” In Adam’s case, “he couldn’t get his head above water.” She also stressed the importance of knowing CPR.

“I do know CPR. Could I have performed it in that moment? I like to believe I could have if I hadn’t seen someone else taking charge,” she wrote. “Luckily, I don’t know because my amazing friend was busy saving him, but I do know that if I didn’t know CPR, my helping him if we’d been alone wouldn’t have even been a possibility.”

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Consumer Product Safety Commissionreported that there are about 300 drowning deaths of children younger than 5 each year in pools.