‘The fault was mine’: Tipton mom shares terrifying story of what led to son’s near-drowning

Adam Leeson

TIPTON, Ind. – On July 23, Maribeth Leeson posted a harrowing story on her Facebook page that has since been shared across the country.

Her post began, “My son drowned 3 days ago. His limp, gray, lifeless body was pulled from the pool and it was every mother’s worst nightmare.”

Leeson had stepped away from a swimming pool and in just a few moments, her 5-year-old son Adam was underwater and lifeless.

“I should have let him not stay in the pool,” she said, still processing what happened.

The Facebook post viscerally conveyed her thought process in that horrific moment:

“How was I going to tell my husband that I let our perfect 5-year-old son drown?? It was exactly like I’ve read other people say in emergency situations: I thought this must be a dream, one of those dreams that you wake up sweating from, short of breath, because it was so real. Wake up! Wake up! But no, I was already awake.

This was 100% preventable. The fault was MINE.”

The Leeson family was attending a pool party at a friend’s house when Adam got into the pool. He wanted to hang out in the shallow end, but when no one noticed, Adam slipped.

“I was screaming. I was just thinking, I ruined his whole life, by letting this happen,” Leeson said.

Kristin Moon is thankful she was nearby. As a family friend and nurse, she was able to help in that critical moment by administering CPR.

“I know what death looks like and that was death,” said Moon.

Thankfully, Adam’s life was saved. He spent three days in the hospital and is now back to being a normal 5-year-old.

“He said he was just going up and down and ‘I tried screaming mommy and you didn’t come.’ I can’t hardly think that was maybe his last thoughts ever,” said Leeson.

The family wants to turn what could have been a tragic story into one that could encourage others, before it’s too late:

“The reason I’m sharing? This happened in a pool full of people. A pool full of ADULTS. I’ve read so many stories about kids slipping away from their parents and getting into a pool, to be found drowned shortly later.”

Moon added, “Everyone can do CPR, and everyone should learn CPR. Be a part of the solution, go online and sign up for a CPR class today.”

Leeson’s story has already been shared more than 100,000 times on social media. She hopes that by spreading this terrifying story, people will be encouraged to learn CPR and end up giving a child a second chance — just like her son Adam.

“He said he wants to go swimming again, but he says this time I will wait for mommy. So, he knows, I’m not going to get into the water until my mom is ready to watch me,” Leeson said.

She wants parents to take away three things from her story:

“Before going to any pool, first make sure your kids know not to get in until the adult who is responsible for them is ready to watch them. That sounds like common sense, but I was thinking because so many adults were present, he was fine, but those adults didn’t know his swimming ability, so they didn’t question when he was under water.

Second, KNOW THE SIGNS OF STRUGGLE! Adam didn’t look like he was struggling! He wasn’t splashing, thrashing, or screaming. He was simply underwater and couldn’t get his head above water.

Third, know CPR. I do know CPR. Could I have performed it in that moment? I like to believe I could have if I hadn’t seen someone else taking charge.”

To read Maribeth Leeson’s full Facebook post, click here.

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