Mersadez, an officer at the Santa Rosa County Correctional Institution, relied on her CPR training until EMS arrived at Marler Park on Okaloosa Island to help her child.
OKALOOSA ISLAND — Only seconds stood between a mother watching her 6-year-old son play on the beach and performing CPR on him.
On July 21, Mersadez Joseph gathered her things to get ready to leave after a fun day at Marler Park. Her son, Krystien, went into the water to retrieve a toy with Mersadez's 4-year-old sister, who was wearing a life jacket.
Mersadez said her little sister came back to shore coughing and telling everyone that Krystien was in the water.
"I looked down at her. I looked back up, and he went under," she said.
Mersadez immediately went searching for Krystien in the Choctawhatchee Bay, she said. With it being after 7 p.m., the sky was growing dark making it difficult to find him.
Brennen Cobb, Krystien's step-dad, went into the water twice. After the second attempt, Cobb located the little boy, who Mersadez said was limp with foam coming out of his mouth and nose.
"He rushed him to the shore, put him down, and I instantly started CPR," Mersadez said.
Mersadez performed two rounds of CPR on her little one until the EMS arrived. Being a correctional officer at the Santa Rosa County Correctional Institution, Mersadez relied on her training from the academy she completed in April, where she learned CPR and life-saving techniques.
"We were using dummies in a class like that," she said. "You never think you have to use it on your own child, but I'm happy I paid attention."
Thankfully, Krystien wasn't under water long, Mersadez said.
"He had a pulse, he had a heartbeat," she said.
Krystien was placed on a ventilator to empty fluids from his stomach. He was then life-flighted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola and treated in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Despite her quick action to save her son, Mersadez said the moment was a scary one.
"Luckily, EMS was there to take over because I had lost it at that point," she said. "But I knew it was working. I saw the fluids coming out of his mouth."
Krystien has been taken off the ventilator and is now breathing on his own, his mom said.
"Because of how fast everyone acted between dad bringing him out of the water, me doing CPR really quick, and quick EMS, they think he's going to have a full recovery with no brain damage or anything like that," Mersadez said.