Glendale girl saves younger brother from drowning in swimming pool

May 9, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 5:56 am

Tiinaliisa Holmstrom and her daughter Tenley tell the story of how the young girl saved her younger...

Tiinaliisa Holmstrom and her daughter Tenley tell the story of how the young girl saved her younger brother's life. (KTAR News/Luke Forstner)

(KTAR News/Luke Forstner)

PHOENIX — The Glendale and Phoenix fire departments have recognized a 9-year-old Glendale girl for heroism after she recently helped save her younger brother’s life.

Tiinaliisa Holmstrom recently told the story of a normal day around the family’s pool.

“All my kids know how to swim … they had supervision,” she said.

Nevertheless, at one point her 3-year-old son, Laiken, had a medical emergency and lost consciousness while in the pool.

“He told his sisters, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling good,’ and he went unconscious over his floater into the water,” Holmstrom recalled. “Of course, with little bodies like that, it only takes seconds for them to go out.”

That’s when Laiken’s sister Tenley, with help from her 8-year-old sister Audra, jumped into the water.

“Tenley grabbed (Laiken) out of the water, laid him on his back and started compressions,” Holmstrom said.

Tenley’s parents took over moments later, but the firefighters who responded to the scene credit Tenley with helping to save Laiken’s life.

With pool season underway in Arizona, stories like this are an excellent reminder for all parents about water safety.

According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 4 years old.

Glendale Fire Captain Kyle Borg said when it comes to safety around the pool, there are no exceptions.

“Adult supervision is always the most important thing you can have in any situation where kids are swimming,” Borg said. “Drowning is silent. A lot of people think there’s a struggle you can hear, but that isn’t the case, so having barriers is also important.”

He also said parents can prepare their kids to take water safety measures, like Tenley did.

“It is important to teach your kids how to swim and, as soon as they’re of age, teach them CPR,” he said.

Tiinaliisa agreed.

“Teach your kids CPR, no matter how young they are, because they are so capable,” she said. “(Tenley) started that whole process of keeping (Laiken) alive, so we’re very grateful.”

The Glendale and Phoenix fire departments, who responded to the call, presented Tenley with awards for her heroism. Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers also presented her with a challenge coin.

Although she seemed to be shy about the attention, Tenley said she was grateful Laiken survived the incident.

“He always cheers me up when I’m sad,” she said. “I’m glad he’s OK because I don’t know what I would do without him.”

KTAR News and Fulton Homes want to remind you that two seconds is too long to take your eyes off kids near water. To learn more about this campaign, visit the website.

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Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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Glendale girl saves younger brother from drowning in swimming pool