Mum's horror as baby girl severely brain damaged after freak paddling pool accident

Katie Burton, 33, was enjoying a hot summer day in Bolton with her family on July 19. The mother-of-two, who is also 36 weeks pregnant with her third child, was playing with her toddlers when they decided to go inside to cool down.

George, three, waddled away from his mother to watch TV in another room.

Penelope, one, then wandered off after George.

When Katie went to the kitchen, she noticed Penelope laying motionless in the water.

The girl had entered the garden through the open patio doors and accidentally fallen into the large paddling pool.

The mother rushed to the pool and found Penelope face down and completely unresponsive.

After screaming for Penelope’s father Grant to call an ambulance, Katie immediately dragged the girl from the water and started performing CPR.

Emergency service vehicles, including an air ambulance, swiftly arrived at the scene and rushed the girl to Manchester Children’s Hospital.

After a week-long coma, Penelope was transferred to the neurological ward for 10 weeks.

Scans then tragically revealed the girl had suffered a severe brain injury. She is unable to sit, speak or eat.

Doctors were unable to reassure Katie that her daughter will ever recover from the horror accident.

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Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Katie shared her nightmare in finding her daughter in the pool.

She told the outlet: “I was numb, I was so shocked. I couldn’t even think.

“I just thought, ‘Oh my god, don’t leave me’.”

She and Grant have spent the last few weeks teaching Penelope “everything from the beginning”.


In a bid to help Penelope recover from the tragic incident, the family have set up a fundraiser on JustGiving throughout the charity Just4Children.

On the fundraiser, Katie has asked for £125,000 for a trial in the US which uses stem cells from a sibling’s umbilical cord as a treatment for brain injury, as well as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, physio and rehab sessions, specialist equipment and home adjustments.

Katie said the “staggering amount” represents “the best chance” for Penelope to recover from the traumatic accident.

The fundraiser has already raised a staggering £113,054 – around 90 percent of the family’s total goal.

Katie also said she wants “people to learn CPR” after her family tragedy, adding: “Hopefully people won’t ever need to use it but if they do it could be lifesaving.”

She added: “Penelope is on loads of medication and is being fed through a tube. She’s like a new-born baby all over again.

“She was talking and walking before, now she can’t talk and she can’t walk.

“She has started smiling – so we’re hoping that’s the start.

“She might start crawling. We’re teaching her everything from the beginning.

“Doctors say she may struggle with mobility in the future.

“She’s our baby and she’s completely different to what she was. It’s really sad.”

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