A California family is extra thankful these days after their joyous Thanksgiving celebration turned to terror, then back to joy. You see, while the Atkinson family was busy with Thanksgiving prep, 3-year-old Maxine wandered unnoticed out to the family pool and slipped in. Footage from the family’s home video camera shows she was in the pool for about four minutes before her uncle found her laying face down.t
“She was pretty much lifeless,” family member Kirsten Atkinson told TODAY.
When she heard the toddler’s uncle screaming for help, Kirsten says her 15-year-old daughter Madison reacted immediately and intentionally. Because she had taken a sports medicine class at school, Madison knew CPR and went to work on her little relative right away while family members were on the phone with 911.
“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 recalled. “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 also added that the teenager maintained a calm, collected composure the entire time she was saving little Maxine’s life.
“I was just trying to remember what I’m supposed to do,” she told TODAY. “I was just like let’s get this baby alive — no one else knew CPR.”
When the first responders arrived, Kirsten Atkinson said they were stunned to learn that Maxine’s rescuer was just a teen.
“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.”