The child, whose name was not released, was taken to Central Carolina Hospital and then transferred to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill. She was listed in critical condition Thursday night.
Authorities said the child was with her mother at a family member's home on Doyle Cox Road near Sanford. The family was gathered on a large deck that surrounds a pool and hot tub.
Shortly before 4:30 p.m., the mother found her toddler face-down in the hot tub.
She screamed for help and the child's grandfather immediately started administering CPR.
When emergency crews arrived on the scene about five minutes later, the toddler had no pulse and wasn't breathing, said Broadway Assistant Fire Chief Josh Billings.
With continued CPR, paramedics were able to detect a pulse and the girl started breathing again on the way to the hospital.
Billings credited the grandfather for his quick action.
"If he hadn't done what he did, I don't know what the outcome would have been," he said.
Lt. Van Holly of the Lee County Sheriff's Office said the incident should serve as a reminder as families across the area kick off the summer season and begin spending more time outdoors.
"Always keep your eyes on your children. They can get away from you. As every adult (and) every parent knows, they can get away as quickly as the snap of a finger," Holly said.
Billings said that the child's progress from the time he arrived on scene until the present is nothing short of a miracle. He's keeping the baby in his thoughts and prayers.
"It really hits you," said Billings. "When I left, I called my preacher and asked him to pray for the little girl."
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