Doctors call toddler's recovery from near-drowning "a miracle"

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A toddler's close-call in a near-drowning is turning into a safety message for parents.

The accident left 1-year-old Whitaker Harris at Cook Children's Hospital last week. Doctors and nurses called his survival “a miracle.”

The Harris family is sharing their story hoping to prevent other families from facing the same near tragedy.

Two days after nearly drowning on his first birthday, Whitaker was sitting up and smiling on his hospital bed.

"When you see things he does afterward… very humbling to how God really is and how thankful you can be,” said Whitaker’s father, Jarred Harris.

The family says their dog pushed open a back door. Then, their son followed and fell in the pool.

Doctors at Cook Children's Medical Center told the parents the odds for survival were slim.

"Doctors were honest but still amazing and helpful and went above and beyond,” said the boy’s mom, Nickie Harris.

Nickie and the grandfather gave the child a fighting chance by doing CPR until paramedics arrived. But not all cases end well.

In the last three years, there has been an alarming number of child drownings. This July alone, 21 kids have gone to Cook Children's emergency room. Two have died. It's why Cook's has an extensive awareness campaign — ‘Lifeguard your child.’

"This is a preventable accident that doesn't have to happen,” said Wini King with the hospital. “All you have to do is pay close attention when your children are near the water."

Nickie shared a photo of her son to raise awareness with some advice about the dangers for children around water.

“Not to be naive because it can happen to anybody,” she said. “And it did in just a matter of seconds."

Cook's says ‘lifeguard your child’ means taking full responsibility for watching your child when they're around water and keeping an eye on them every second.