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Madison Atkinson Maxine pool Thanksgiving CPR

Source: Thanit Weerawan / Getty

Madison Atkinson, 15, is being lauded as a hero after she used her recently learned CPR training to save her 3-year-old cousin’s life on Thanksgiving Day.

Backyard surveillance video recorded at a Northridge neighborhood home in Los Angeles captured Madison’s successful rescue effort during the nearly fatal incident. The footage also included the toddler — baby girl Maxine — approaching and looking at a pool before turning her body around and entering the water feet-first. A separate camera angle showed an older, adult male relative running outside and into the backyard pool minutes later to help the 3-year-old. 

ABC7 noted that the incident happened while family members prepared Thanksgiving dinner. The child’s fall into the pool was unbeknownst to the adults because they thought the young girl was inside and enjoying the holiday family time with other kids. 

All the frantic adults didn’t know what measures to perform while Maxine lay limp on the ground. It was ultimately Madison’s CPR skills, precision and quick action that saved the day and the child’s life.

The southern California teen — a high school sophomore — reportedly got certified in CPR through her sports medicine class.

Madison said she knew CPR was the more appropriate course of action when she witnessed her uncle doing the Heimlich on Maxine.

“I told everyone I knew CPR, and it calmed everyone down,” the teen hero recalled of the fateful Thanksgiving incident. “Then they just laid her down on the ground, and I started CPR.”



“She [Maxine] was coming to life as we were watching Madison perform [CPR],” said the teen’s mother, Kirsten Atkinson, while speaking with NBC Los Angeles. “[The toddler] initially started to take a breath. She then started to open her eyes.”

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a series of seven steps a person can perform on another experiencing cardiac arrest, unresponsiveness or an irregular pause in breathing. The American Red Cross outlines the different measures someone should take when performing CPR on either a baby or a child.

Maxine has reportedly recovered from the harrowing incident. Shout out to Madison for putting her CPR certification to use in such a life-saving way!

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