It started off like a regular pool day at her grandparentís home. Elianna Grace, 4, and other kids were having fun, blowing water out of pool noodles at each other.
Then, as Elianna was blowing water out one end of the noodle, someone else accidentally did the same from the other end, forcing water down her throat.
The girlís mother, Lacey Grace, said she threw the water up immediately. Then 30 minutes later, she was back normal. But on April 16, just two days afterward, Elianna started to develop a fever and was struggling with her appetite.
Then things turned serious after Lacey Grace took Elianna to urgent care.
"We were there about 10 minutes when the doctor said to get her to the nearest ER as soon as possible," Lacey Grace wrote on her Facebook page on April 19. "Her heart rate was crazy high, her oxygen was low, and her skin was turning purple which suggested chemical infection."
Now Lacey Grace wants to warn parents to keep a closer eye on their children after they visit pools, especially within 48 hours.
She told the Tampa Bay Times that doctors at Sarasota Memorial Hospital diagnosed the girl with aspiration pneumonia, chemical pneumonitis and perihilar edema.
"I would have never thought this could happen from pool water," Lacey Grace said, adding that doctors werenít sure if she inhaled the water through her nose when she got sprayed or when she threw the water back up.
Elianna Grace had to rely on oxygen to breathe while she was at the hospital from April 18-21. Sheís doing better, Lacey Grace said, and no longer needs oxygen to breathe but still struggles with her appetite.
Lacey Grace credited a story about a Texas Boy dying last June from "dry drowning" to her being able to notice the warning signs that got her to seek treatment for Elianna Grace.
"Iím not sure if I would have ever even remembered the pool incident if i didnít read that story," Lacey Grace said. "I would have thought, you know, sheís obviously coming down with something. But I would have never thought ĎOh! Pool chemicals in her lungs.í "
Bevin Maynard, supervisor at St. Josephís Childrenís Wellness and Safety Center, said Elianna Grace was very fortunate that her mother was watching her and paid close attention to her behavior after the incident.
Maynard said children between the ages of 1 and 4 are highly susceptible to drowning and other pool accidents, but parents staying vigilant is the key to prevention. She added the environment pools promote can also lull people into a false sense of security.
"Itís fun. Itís welcoming. [Children] see it as a really fun place to go with their family," Maynard said. "When you think of pools, you think of fun and itís very attractive to toddlers. So it just happens so fast."
Elianna Graceís family has set also up a Gofundme page to help with the hospital bills after the incident.