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Mother says her teen lifeguard training may have saved daughter's life

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APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -

A 4-year-old Apache Junction girl is out of the hospital Saturday night after she nearly drowned in a swimming pool.

Her mother did CPR until paramedics arrived. She says her lifeguard training from high school may have saved her daughters life.

Seconds count.

Every time there's a drowning or near drowning, firefighters and paramedics emphasize the importance of knowing CPR.

Saturday a valley mother says her daughter may be alive because she knew what to do.

Less than 24 hours after she nearly drowned, 4-year-old Ellie seems unphased.

"You wouldn't know that she knocked on death's door yesterday," said Heather Lamps, Ellie's mom.

The Apache Junction girl was swimming with her brother, sister and mother in a community pool near Meridian and Ironwood when she slipped out of an innertube and went under.

"I turned to talk to my son for maybe a minute or two and then she, my oldest, screamed," said Lamps. "I turned around, I was literally an arm lengths away from her, and I turned around and just grabbed her."

But the little girl had been under long enough that she wasn't breathing.

"I immediately started compressions because I could tell she was trying to get air but couldn't," said Lamps. "I just kept doing compressions until the EMTs arrived and she happened to start breathing before they got there and was conscious and aware and her color had come back, because she had been blue."

Lamps said she remembered how to do CPR from when she was a teenager.

"I was a lifeguard when I was 15 and that training stuck with me. I never thought I'd ever use it on my own family, but I'm thankful I had the training," said Lamps.

The pool was just three feet deep.

Lamps, who was in the pool with her daughter, says the 4-year-old slipped under the water quickly and quietly.

"I didn't hear a thing. I didn't hear her struggling or anything," said Lamps.

She encourages others to learn CPR.

"It was just instinct, was to just do it. I'm glad I did and I know it made a big difference," said Lamps.

Lamps says she has taught her kids how to swim.

She says her 4-year-old knows how to float on her back and push up from the bottom of the pool.

The 4-year-old had a traumatic brain injury last year and doctors think she may have had a seizure in the pool.

To find a CPR class near you, visit www.redcross.org/az/phoenix/take-a-class

Follow this story: 4-year-old pulled from community pool in Apache Junction

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