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After toddler's near drowning in backyard pool, Quebec mom has warning for parents

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A Quebec mother who saved her child from the bottom of a backyard pool last weekend has a message for other families.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, children were splashing around in Catherine Couture's backyard pool.

"Warm weather, 30 degrees outside. Everything was there for a pool day," she recounted about that day that quickly took a turn for the worse.

Lunchtime meant that her 22-month-old daughter Kacy had to leave the pool. So, off came her swimming flotation device.

Couture says it all happened when she turned around to grab a drink of water.

"I put back my eyes on the pool. It’s really weird because I know I'm looking at the pool, but I'm not seeing that she’s in the bottom of the pool because they are all swimming, they’re all playing. and that’s the moment when my 3-year-old came to me and told me mommy Kacy's in the bottom of the pool," Couture said.

It appears Kacy went back in the water without anyone noticing or hearing.

"It took me a second to just scream and jump in the pool to take her out. When you didn’t see the fall, you’re thinking, was it quick enough?" she said.

Kacy was conscious but shaken up. She was brought to the emergency room and appears to be doing fine.

Water safety experts say it can happen in a matter of seconds.

"It doesn't matter if it's fatal or non-fatal drownings, the situation is very silent and usually based on the information we have is between 15 to 30 seconds," said Raynald Hawkins, executive director of the Quebec Lifesaving Society.

Research from the Montreal Children's Hospital shows one child will be brought to the ER every day this summer for a drowning or near drowning incident.

"For every death, unfortunately, that they will see on the news this summer of a child who drowned there were more than 10 who will consult the emergency department or be admitted to the hospital," the hospital's Dr. Hussein Wissanji said.

He urges people to have a fence around their pool.

"A lot of these drownings were associated with the absence of inappropriate fencing," he said.

Couture has a fence in place but she wants to remind people to never take their eyes off the pool.

"We always think it’s going to happen to someone else. They were not checking their children. They were not around the pool. We are around the pool. But it can happen in a fraction of a second," she said.

She hopes people will learn from her terrifying experience so they can have a fun and safe summer.

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