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Spa pool ordeal for trapped toddler

AMY MAAS
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013
Cooper Sweeney and grandfather Greg
Chris Skelton
SPA DRAMA: Cooper Sweeney and grandfather Greg beside the spa pool where the toddler got his arm trapped.

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A toddler's arm was trapped in a spa pool filter inlet in a terrifying 40-minute ordeal.

Cooper Sweeney's nightmare began when the two-year-old took a dip in the spa pool with his aunt at his grandparents' house in Mairangi Bay.

"He was talking to her and he had his arms around his back and he grabbed the catch, the little grate that it has on it and then he put the other hand in the hole and it got drawn in," Cooper's father Brendon Sweeney says.

Cooper's arm swelled up straight away and his head went under the water, he says.

"My sister grabbed his head and brought him up and couldn't figure out why he was crying. Then she realised he was stuck and started screaming," he says.

Cooper's right arm was then drawn further into the hole before his grandfather managed to turn off the pump, but it still wouldn't relieve the suction.

"He was stuck in there for about 20 minutes and then my mum called me, the spa company to see if they could reverse the pump, the fire brigade and the ambulance," Mr Sweeney says.

He arrived at the house as three firefighters started to chip away at glass tiles surrounding the spa pool. Cooper had been stuck for about 40 minutes at that point.

"His hand really ballooned up and they managed to cut away some of the concrete and put a small hole into the hose, which is about an inch- and-a-half wide [38mm] pipe.

"That was just enough for me to massage his forearm and draw the soap down and get lubricant on to his arm.

"Cooper was kind of exhausted from crying by the time I got there."

When Cooper's arm finally came unstuck, his hand was black.

"It was all a bit of an ordeal. Once his arm was relieved he was in a bit of pain then because the swelling was pretty serious. He was telling me he couldn't feel or move his fingers," Mr Sweeney says.

He accompanied Cooper in an ambulance to Auckland's Starship Hospital before they were transferred to Manukau's Middlemore Hospital to see a plastic surgeon.

Cooper was kept at Middlemore overnight so doctors could keep his arm elevated to restore circulation to the hand and take his blood pressure every hour. His arm has been quite severely swollen but he's starting to use his hand again.

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- North Shore Times

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