A Minnesota woman, who is 33 weeks pregnant with her third child, became a savior to another mom when she heroically rescued a little boy as he was drowning in a lake over the weekend.
Stephanie Swedberg is now reminding other parents about the importance of swim lessons for children after she prevented the tragedy from occurring on Sunday morning, Fox 9 reports.
The incident happened around 11 a.m. on July 21, as Swedberg, a former lifeguard, was enjoying a day at Crystal Beach Park with her sister and 3-year-old twin boys, according to the outlet.
Though she usually spent her Sundays at church, the Burnsville mom said she decided to watch the service online instead and teach her sons how to float at the lake — a fateful decision that would ultimately lead to her save another child’s life.
“I’ve just known with these guys that I wanted them to learn how to swim as soon as possible,” she told Fox 9, adding that her reason behind the decision was to ensure her kids wouldn’t “panic in a situation that they can’t touch the bottom.”
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As she was in the water with her family, Swedberg said she was suddenly interrupted by a distressed mother who came running into the lake towards a group of boys, ages 10 to 14, who were approximately 20 feet away.
“I didn’t really realize anything was off until I saw one of the moms fully dressed, sprinting into the water and screaming for somebody to help her son,” Swedberg recalled to the outlet. “Then I looked over and I saw one of the boys unable to keep his head above the water.”
“He wasn’t screaming,” she added. “He was just thrashing around, bobbing a little bit.”
With no hesitation, Swedberg handed off her son and then swam into the lake after the boy. Luckily, it was just in time and she was able to rescue him from the waters.
The incident also marked the first time Swedberg rescued anyone from drowning, even after working as a lifeguard for so long.
Though Swedberg told Fox 9 that she credited the boy’s mother for paying attention while her son was in the water, she advised them to stick with swimming lessons for a while, as he had only had a few.
“I encouraged him to keep taking swimming lessons and maybe become a lifeguard [himself],” she told the outlet.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest drowning rates, with most occurring in swimming pools at home. Among the children ages 1 to 4 who die of unintentional injuries, drowning accounts for one-third of the deaths.
For those who choose to swim at a lake, the American Red Cross recommends being aware of hazards and weather, such as fast-moving current, drop-offs, or thunder/lightning, and always entering the water feet-first, with caution.
The organization also suggests “employing layers of protection including barriers to prevent access to water, life jackets, and close supervision of children to prevent drowning,” learning how to swim efficiently, and knowing what to do in a water emergency.
As for parents, the American Red Cross advises that parents take first aid and CPR courses to help in an emergency. They provide step-by-step instructions on their website, and offer classes around the country found here.
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