This is not fiction. The boy is my nephew, and this happened two years ago.

NB: This is not Zanni’s nephew.


A little boy, not quite three, goes into his grandparent’s studio where he often plays.

Through the glass door, he sees a toy floating in the pool outside.

He manages to unlock the door, and slips out.

Kneeling down, he reaches in to fish out the toy. He falls in.

He can’t swim.

Moments later, the boy’s mum is looking for him, calling his name. Then, she sees him, face down, floating in the water.

He is blue. Lifeless.

She yells for help, and dives in fully clothed to pull him out. His dad runs out from the kitchen, grabs the boy from his mother’s arms, and starts CPR.

The boy’s grandma calls 000. His father keeps pressing the boy’s chest, and breathing into his mouth.

Thirty seconds. The boy begins to regain colour.

His father keeps pressing.

Sixty seconds. The boy begins to breathe.

His dad keeps pressing.

Ninety seconds. The boy throws up, and starts balling.

The ambulance arrives, and the boy is rushed to ER. His body is covered in “owie” stickers attached to wires to monitor his heart.


The doctors run the vital tests – memory, motor skills and reaction rates. Everything is fine. They keep him in overnight to make sure he doesn’t have water in his lungs. His father stays with him, but his mother has to go back to her parent’s house for the night to care for her baby. It is cruelty, not to be beside her boy.

The next day, the boy rips off his “owies”. ‘I want to go home,’ he says to his dad.

Zanni Louise
Zanni Louise

That afternoon, he plays happily with his toys, just like any other day. But his parents know it is nothing like other days. They have never felt more grateful.

This is not fiction. The boy is my nephew, and this happened two years ago.  The image of their son’s lifeless body still haunts his parents every day.

After the accident, he started swimming lessons three times a week. His little sister, now two-and-a-half, can almost swim independently.

Everyone related to the boy has since learnt CPR. We know how lucky we were to not lose him that day. We were lucky that his father knew CPR, and had the confidence to administer it without delay.

Ninety seconds. That’s all. It could have been forever, but it was only ninety seconds.

Zanni Louise is an emerging children’s book author, freelance writer and blogger, living in the hinterland of Byron Bay. Visit her blog My Little Sunshine House and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Have you done CPR training? What water-safety measures have you taken?

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