Toddler breathing on her own after near drowning

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- UPDATE: Family members tell First Coast News that Dixie is now breathing on her own, but she is still sedated in a medically induced coma. Her uncle said they are trying to warm her body temperature back to normal. FCN placed a call to Wolfson Children's Hospital to find out her official condition, but our call has not been returned.

A toddler found face down in a backyard pond Saturday afternoon is in critical condition at Wolfson Children's Hospital.

Two-year-old Dixie Wallace was playing with her siblings and other children at a family member's house on Gaines Road in St. Augustine Saturday.

"She just happened to get away. It had to have been less than five minutes," said her uncle, Thomas O'Sickey.

O'Sickey had just arrived to the home around 2 p.m. and was told the child had gone missing.

"I had just sat down and they're saying where's Dixie?" said O'Sickey. "I helped them start looking and I seen something floating in the water."

O'Sickey says the back door of the home was open and not even ten feet from the door there's a pond that takes over the entire backyard; Dixie was in it, face down.

The toddler's uncle jumped in and pulled her out. Luckily, he says his mother, the child's grandmother is a nurse and began CPR.

"She started spitting out water, throwing up, spitting up all kinds of stuff," added O'Sickey.

The experience has been a tragic one for the family and it's one that reminds all families of the dangers of drowning. Florida had the highest unintentional drowning rate in the nation in 2010 for children between ages 1 and 4, according to the Florida Department of Health.

"Keep an eye on your children, if you've got any water near your yard don't let your eye off them for two seconds," said O'Sickey.

Paramedics took over on arrival and continued CPR efforts. Dixie was taken to Flagler Hospital where she regained a pulse and was then transported to Wolfson Children's Hospital.

She will be 3 in March.

First for you, the Florida Department of Health says it's important to be waterproof, which means:

1) Supervision: Always have someone watching a child especially if there is a body of water nearby.

2) Barriers: If you have a pool, pond, lake, or any body of water make sure there are barriers that can physically block children from falling in.

3) Emergency Preparedness: Take the opportunity to learn CPR even if you're not a parent. Be ready to call 9-1-1 immediately.


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