WBIR

A Tennessee boy is being hailed as a hero after he rescued his toddler sister from drowning in the family pool.

Gray Forrester, who is now 5 but was 4 at the time of the incident, recently sprung into action when he noticed his 2-year-old sister Andie had somehow made her way into the water, NBC affiliate WBIR reported.

"She was doggy paddling. I grabbed her tummy. I was trying to lift her so she could breathe," Gray told the outlet.

The siblings' mom Laura Forrester, of Knoxville, said the incident happened very quickly, and that her children had been in her sight just five minutes earlier.

"Andie walked up and was like, ‘I falled in the pool, I falled in the pool!' She was soaking wet and then I looked at Gray and he was soaking wet and I just panicked," she recalled. "I flashed forward so many times on how it happened so fast, ‘cause they had just been with me not even five minutes ago."

Andie's dip into the water was frightening for Laura, as she said that when her family moved into the home, they'd taken all the proper pool precautions, including a safety fence, beeps on the doors, and repeated reminders to her kids never to go in the water without an adult present.

"Gray's a hero. I think in that moment for a 4-year-old to be able to react like that is a God thing," she told WBIR. "I think that God was with Andie and Gray that day and that's the only thing that makes sense because it was so remarkable."

RELATED: What to Know About Pool Safety and How to Prevent Drowning Emergencies

Laurar has since enrolled her daughter in classes at Swim ‘N Float, a six-week course that dips kids in the pool for 10 minutes every day, Monday through Thursday, with the goal of having them be able to handle the water on their own.

"[I hope] if people hear this story and they live close to the water, the lake, or the pool or whatever, that they will consider signing up for this class because no matter what precautions you take, it can still happen," she said.

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Drowning is the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. More children ages 1 to 4 die from drowning than from any other cause of death, with the exception of birth defects.

For families with pools, the American Red Cross recommends protecting them with a 4-foot high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate. It also recommends putting a safety cover over the water when not in use, and removing any ladders or steps used for access.

The organization emphasizes the need to watch children closely when they're around all bodies of water, and to never allow anyone — even if they can swim — to be in the pool alone. Additionally, all pool toys should come out of the water when they're not in use, as they often entice young kids to jump in.

This Story Originally Appeared On People
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