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Teen who learned CPR at school saves toddler from drowning on Thanksgiving

“I was just like let’s get this baby alive — no one else knew CPR,” Madison Atkinson said.
/ Source: TODAY

A California teenager is being hailed as a hero after performing CPR on her 3-year-old relative who nearly drowned in the family's pool on Thanksgiving.

As the Atkinson family prepared breakfast on Nov. 23, 3-year-old Maxine toddled into the backyard and unknowingly got into the pool, according to video from a home security camera. About four minutes later, Maxine's uncle found her floating face down.

"She was pretty much lifeless," Kirsten Atkinson said on TODAY.

Maxine's uncle began screaming for help, and that's when Atkinson said her 15-year-old daughter Madison Atkinson jumped into action and began performing CPR.

"Madison’s just pumping away for for a couple of minutes, and finally, Maxine starts to open her eyes and start to breathe," Kirsten Atkinson said. "The dispatcher said, 'Put her on her side.' And when we did that, Maxine opened her eyes and starts to literally breathe on her own."

She added: "The entire time Madison’s there just calm, cool, collected, not panicked."

When the paramedics arrived, Kirsten Atkinson said they asked how old her daughter was.

"Their faces were just like, this could have been so different," she said. "They commended her and they said that, you know, she has performed a miracle."

Madison Atkinson, captain of her school's JV cheer team, said she had taken a sports medicine class where she learned CPR.

"I was just trying to remember what I’m supposed to do," she said. "I was just like let’s get this baby alive — no one else knew CPR."

The teenager's mother said the incident, and her daughter's life-saving skill, gave her family a whole lot to be thankful for that day.

"We were able to celebrate Thanksgiving in a different way, right? It was about, you know, how precious life is and how things can change in the blink of an eye," she said.

Maxine has made a full recovery, Kirsten Atkinson said, adding their entire family is committing to getting CPR training.