Dad Warns About Popular Mermaid Tail Swimsuit After 5-Year-Old Daughter Nearly Drowns

mermaid tail

A dad from New Jersey is warning parents this week after his 5-year-old daughter nearly drowned while wearing a popular mermaid tail swimsuit in the family’s inflatable pool.

Adam Lisberg took to Twitter detailing the horrifying incident, which happened on Sunday, June 28.

Lisberg says his two daughters, Annabelle, 5, and Ruby, 7, were playing in a small inflatable kiddie pool in the family’s driveway. Both girls, who love mermaids, were wearing two-piece bathing suits which have mermaid tail bottoms that binds their legs together.

“We knew that with it blocking their feet it’s harder to kick or walk — and they knew that,” Lisberg said. “But we figured (the pool) is two feet deep. Even if they sit down they can get themselves up.”

Still, Lisberg says he and his wife always supervise their daughters when they are using the pool—acknowledging that while the water levels are shallow, “kids can drown in anything.”

On this particular afternoon however, Lisberg found himself pulled in several different directions after his 5-year-old son, Ben, had taken it upon himself to make guacamole.

As every parent knows, distractions happen. So Lisberg adapted to the situation the best way he knew how.

“Every parent knows you have to watch every kid like a hawk, and you have to be careful all the time, but I thought, ‘I have two girls in the pool keeping an eye on each other, right below the kitchen with the window open so I can hear them. Meanwhile, I have a son who’s about to squish avocados all over the kitchen,” Lisberg explained. “I figured it was safe to go up and make guacamole with him while looking out the window.”

Lisberg said he had been checking on the girls every minute or two through the window when Ruby came inside and calmly told her dad that Annabelle wasn’t moving.

“I looked outside—Annabelle was lying on the ground next to the pool, arms inside her mermaid tail, not moving,” Lisberg wrote on Twitter.

He rushed outside and immediately began performing CPR on her while 5-year-old Ben ran to get mom. Paramedics and police arrived quickly and rushed Annabelle to the hospital where she stayed for two days.

“Annabelle spent two days in the pediatric ICU,” Lisberg wrote in his Twitter thread. “Even a little water in the lungs, especially if it has chlorine, can spark a delayed reaction as the body fights the injury. She had a temperature and elevated pulse and breathing for almost a day after. Needed oxygen to kick it.”

Ruby explained that Annabelle had pulled the mermaid tail up to her shoulders, tucking her arms inside of the material. Annabelle later confirmed these details, telling her parents that she was trying to “play potato” by laying down in the water. But she was unable to get her hands out to get back up.

“Fortunately, Ruby is the best big sister in the whole world,” Lisberg wrote. “She saw Annabelle wasn’t coming up, so she pulled her head out of the water and then pulled her completely out of the pool, scary wide-open eyes and all.”

Lisberg told TODAY that he wishes Ruby would have shouted something sooner, “but her first instinct was to protect her sister and she did.”

In the days since their horrific experience, Lisberg says he and his wife have both felt “terribly guilty,” for not being more vigilant while their daughters were swimming.

“We thought we were doing the very best we could, but that one terrible moment, when things can go wrong, happened,” he said. “Fortunately our older daughter was a hero.”

Drowning is the number one cause of death in children ages 1-4 years old.

And it’s completely preventable.

Lisberg said he shared their story on Twitter because he never wants anyone else’s kid to end up in the ER or ICU like Annabelle did from something can 100 percent be prevented.

“I’m hoping that the parents who see this are scared … I want people to know that these mermaid tail swimsuits can kill,” he said. “They’re adorable, they’re cute, kids want them, our kids had one like that for years and everything was fine, but I never expected she’d pull it up over her arms. Anyone who has a mermaid tail swimsuit … should never get near water.”

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Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of! An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook!