Local News

Mom's quick action saves 3-year-olds from drowning in swimming pool

Posted June 22, 2008
Updated June 23, 2008

— A Nash County family had a terrifying day Sunday, but one that ended OK after 3-year-old twins nearly drowned in a backyard swimming pool.

The boys were recovering in the pediatric intensive care unit at Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville. Joshua Hickson was listed in good condition, and Jacob Hickson was in serious condition on Monday afternoon.

Authorities said that their mother's quick thinking helped save the boys' lives.

Tracey and Tony Hickson had arrived in North Carolina from Maryland on Saturday and were moving into their house near Rocky Mount on Sunday. The boys had been running around noisily all morning, Tracey Hickson said, but then it got quieter.

Somehow, the boys had managed to open a fence gate that they had been unable to defeat before.

"I seen that gate open and that's when I said, “Oh my God!" Tracey Hickson said. She found her twins floating in the pool.

"I immediately jumped in,” Tracey Hickson said. “I picked them up, started trying to resuscitate each one, which is really hard because, it's like, which one do you resuscitate first?”

Joshua and Jacob, the youngest of nine children, were floating face down when their mother found them. Both were unconscious.

Tracey Hickson did cardio-pulmonary resuscitation as Tony Hickson called for help.

"I feel fortunate that she found them in time to get them conscious and breathing – and she knew mouth-to-mouth, and that helped a lot, too,” Tony Hickson said.

"They've never been able to open that gate, so that wasn't a concern,” Tracey Hickson said. The boys got past the gate this time, however, and onto a wooden deck that leads to the pool.

The Nash County Sheriff's Office is ruling the incident an accident. The parents call it nothing short of a miracle.

"I thank God, and anyone who doesn't believe in God – trust me, there is a God, definitely,” Tracey Hickson said.


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  • Carolina Parrothead Jun 23, 2008

    I think this mom did a great job. As the parent of only one 3 year old, I know how active and inquisitive she is. You cannot watch a child every second of every day. When I was 3 I wandered away from my mom in a store in RM. Thankfully a very nice lady helped me to find her. The best parents on earth, and I include my mother in that, loose track of their kids from time to time. Let's stop assuming the worst about people and remember that this could happen to any of us.

  • mom2threecld Jun 23, 2008

    thank god they are ok. this is why i wouldn't have a pool in my yard.

  • JAT Jun 23, 2008

    jkca - no one is selfrighteous - just conscientious parents. Until my child was old enough to know right from wrong, there was a monitor in his room so that I heard anything. And there are deadbolts, which had those childproof (and adultproof) things on them till he was old enough. And should those have failed, there were chains on the doors so they couldn't be opened from the inside. So, yes, I was watching my child even at night.

    The mother knew the pool was there and knew of the danger, since she'd obviously seen the kids try to open the door before.

    Yes, you CAN keep an eye on your kids constantly and you SHOULD. There is nothing more valuable than your child's life and if it's not worth making sure have secured that child, then you're not doing your job as a parent.

  • jkca Jun 23, 2008

    Thank you Rev., there are so many self righteous people who are already sentencing the parents...THEY WERE MOVING !! Do you people who make these negative remarks stay up all night and watch your kids while they sleep? I bet not, so therefore,you are not watching your kids at all times. What if they get up and into trouble while you are sleeping? Do you lock them in their rooms? My point is, tragic things happen, and if this had of happened 15-20 years ago, wouldn't we be more sympathetic? I have a three year old and kids that age can get away fast and you CAN NOT keep an eye on them constantly. Should the parents have tied them down???? Should they have gotten a sitter?? Note that they just moved to RMT and they probably didn't have a sitter. These parents were well aware of danger when she didn't hear her children playing, and thank God she had her intuition and the know how to save her kids.

  • whatusay Jun 23, 2008

    These parents would be in jail for 2nd degree murder if either of these children had drowned. But instead seems they are being treated like heroes.

  • tarheelalum Jun 23, 2008

    Why will you not post any of my posts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JAT Jun 23, 2008

    Ready - Yeah, I know parents like that, too, and they'll be called great parents until someone snatches their kids. Fences don't work all the time, you know! A parent who lets their kids outside alone knows the risks and apparently is willing to take it. However, the one who will be hurt if that risk doesn't pan out is the kid and that's too big of a risk for me.

    And how different is this case than a parent who lets their kids wonder off in the woods for hours? Do we know how long the kids were actually unattended? We only know when the mother said she noticed it was "too quiet". Those 2 kids could have been unattended for hours for all we know.

  • readyforgodswilltobedone Jun 23, 2008

    I know some folks who let their 3 and 4 years go outside in the back yard while they are in the house if it's a fenced in backyard. I don't agree with it but that doesn't made them bad parents. It's the parents that have missing toddler for hours in the wood that don't get charged with anything that is a problem.

  • Adelinthe Jun 23, 2008

    JAT - "Everyone is saying "awww, what a great mom" - NO! Two minutes later and all of you would be saying she deserves to be under the jail. She was careless, negligent and incredibly lucky. That's why you WATCH your children and you don't let them wonder around unattended, esp. at 3. What if someone had grabbed them? Stop giving her a free pass."


    You weren't there. You weren't in on the police investigation. So what makes you think you know enough of the story to pass judgement??? And why, if anyone's guilty of anything, would you stick it all on the mom when the dad, along with other friends and family, were there too?

    Get a grip.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Jun 23, 2008

    So many of you taking swipes at the parents.


    Have you ever moved? Did you know the location of each and every one of your children the whole time you were moving? How soon after you moved in was all your child safety equipment in place?

    As for them being at home doing interviews when their wee ones were in the hospital, don't you know reporters well enough to realize that they may have been following these parents up or down the path from their home to their car to get to the hospital for their children or vice versa to get their story?

    You don't know anything for sure and that's not the point of this story anyway.

    This mother succeeded in KNOWING CPR and applying it to both of her twins simultaneously. Quite a feat, don't you think.

    Am thanking God all is well for these children, and instead of having evil thoughts and starting gossip, you should be too.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB