Perth girl Phoebe Van Niel hailed hero after saving toddler from drowning in hotel pool

A fearless little girl is being hailed a hero after jumping into a hotel pool to save a toddler that had slipped in.

Year two student Phoebe Van Niel witnessed the toddler falling into the hotel pool “without any floaties” while on holiday in Broome, Western Australia.

The 7-year-old dived in to save the baby girl “without hesitation”, as others around reportedly did not notice the toddler’s mishap.

The split-second decision saved the two-year-old’s life, who despite being shaken up and crying, was not harmed in the incident.

“She jumped into the big pool with no floaties, well she slipped in,” Phoebe told 9News.

“She could have drowned, and I didn’t want that happening.”

Her mother Renae couldn’t be prouder of her little girl.

While initially shocked when Phoebe suddenly dived into the pool, it was this action that alerted adults to what was going on.

“Initially there was a lot of panic,” she explained.

“But as soon as they sort of saw that, Phoebe had her out of the water and was swimming to the edge with her, everyone was able to sort of relax a little bit knowing that she was going to be okay.”

Phoebe’s years of swimming lessons gave her the confidence to jump right in and rescue the toddler.

With summer just around the corner, the parents are encouraging all families to teach their young kids how to swim.

“This is why it is so important to go and learn how to be a strong swimmer” Renae said.

The little girl now dreams of becoming a lifeguard.

In the past year alone, 339 people across Australia lost their lives to a drowning incident, while another 686 were involved in non-fatal water, according to Royal Life Saving Australia’s annual Drowning Report.

They state that each year in Australia, an average of 23 children under five die from unintentional drowning, usually due to factors such as a lack of adult supervision, unrestricted access to water and not having the skills to stay safe in water.

While many parents begin swimming lessons from as young as six months, it is recommended for all children to learn how to swim from around the age of four.

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