“It sounded like panic”: Cranston neighbor saves 2-year-old girl drowning

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – A neighbor in Cranston is being credited for saving the life of a 2-year-old after nearly drowning.

It happened on Monday on Wescott Avenue. That neighbor, Laura Cioe, a former military paramedic and kindergarten teacher, performed CPR after hearing screams next door.

“My daughter and I were outside doing yard work and I heard a little commotion,” Cioe said. “It really sounded like panic. I ran over and realized quickly what was happening.”

Cioe spoke exclusively with ABC 6 News about the moments leading up to and following the incident

According to police, the mother next door found her 2-year-old girl unconscious and face down in the pool. They say she had been in the basement doing laundry and smoking marijuana when her child managed to climb the stairs on her above ground pool. She had left her children under the supervision of her 11-year-old daughter.

That mother is now facing child neglect charges.

Cioe says the mother was trying to resuscitate the toddler, but was clearly distraught, so since she was certified in CPR, she stepped in to help.

“I just started to do CPR,” Cioe said. “I just kept going until she started to breathe a little bit and make a little bit of noises. It was such a relief.”

She says those moments felt like a lifetime and the days following the incident have been spent thinking, what if?

“Sometimes I work on Mondays, sometimes I don’t work from home,” Cioe said. “What if I was in the house with the air conditioner on and didn’t hear anything? I’m sure anyone in that scenario would’ve done the same thing, but I’m so glad I was able to hear it and help her.”

She’s also glad she knew CPR and says her message to others is to learn it, too.

“Without being able to provide immediate rescue breaths and compressions… that was necessary,” Cioe said. “I think that if everyone could just take some time… I know sometimes it can be costly or difficult to, but right now is the perfect time because Red cross has them virtually.”

As for the investigation, the mother will be in court next month, the toddler is expected to be okay, and DCYF is investigating.

Categories: Cranston, News, Rhode Island