Protecting our children is our top priority as a parent. By welcoming them into the world, we’re agreeing to shelter them from harm, give them the best life possible and put their needs before our own. No matter how hard we promise this to our sweet, doe-eyed newborns, there are unfortunate times when risk finds its way into their lives.

Such was the case when an 18-month-old snuck away from his mom and dad while they were camping on a beach in New Zealand…

Jessica Whyte, her partner, Josh, and their baby, Malachi, were on their first night at the Murphy’s Holiday Camp in Matata, New Zealand when chaos erupted. The trio had just enjoyed a day of romping in the water and exploring around their campsite before turning in for the night.

While Jessica and Josh slept, Malachi silently unzipped the tent and crawled toward the water. It wasn’t until several hours later that a fisherman named Gus Hutt motored past the toddler’s floating body.

Gus told the New Zealand Harold:

“As he floated past I thought he was just a doll. So, I reached out and grabbed him by the arm; even then I still thought it was just a doll.

His face looked just like porcelain with his short hair wetted down, but then and he let out a little squeak and I thought, ‘Oh God, this is a baby and it’s alive.'”

Gus pulled Malachi’s body aboard and prayed that he was strong enough to survive the ride back to shore. Even though the toddler was sopping wet, he was relatively unharmed! Gus brought Malachi to the camp staff and asked for their help.

Whose child was this?!

Fortunately, there was only one couple with a small boy at the camp – and they were sleeping peacefully a few feet away, completely unaware that their child almost drowned.

Malachi’s mother shrieked upon hearing the news. She told the NZ Harold that her son’s sneaky ocean incident nearly gave her a heart attack.

“I don’t think my heart [beat] from hearing that to seeing him. I don’t think my heart worked.”

Now Malachi’s parents know to keep a lock on their tent if they go camping in the future. Toddlers’ hands are notoriously swift – one soundless move and they’re lost in the ocean forever.

FISHERMAN PLUCKS ‘PORCELAIN DOLL’ FROM WATER WHEN HE SUDDENLY HEARS SQUEAK & REALIZES IT’S ALIVE

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