We hear that real life imitates the movies, but not when it comes to drowning. Our idea of a drowning victim often comes by what we have seen on screen… yelling, arms flailing and waving, even fingers dramatically counting to that 3rd bob, alerting others that a life is in danger. But the real danger is that drowning is usually silent with little action to warn someone it's happening, which is why it's a sad fact that many drownings occur with an adult watching.
As the second leading cause of children’s accidental deaths, it merits a close look from every parent, caregiver, relative, and anyone else who is around children and water. The signs of a drowning victim are low key and it takes a diligent, watchful eye to actually see and interpret the danger. The signs are not just presented by children; this is the way all people drown.
Mario Vittone, water safety expert and former U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer, wrote the article Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning, which is making an international wave and drawing attention to The Instinctive Drowning Response.
Here are some warning signs:
- Mouth at water level, can be just above and/or below, with head low in the water
- Eyes unfocused or closed
- Body is vertical, no legs kicking
- Arms are barely breaking the surface of the water, pressing down, trying for leverage
- Hair may be over forehead and face
- Won’t be able to talk or call for help
Please take time to read the full article and warning signs list if you and your family are going anywhere near the water this summer. And while you are at the water with your child, be diligent and watchful and make sure the lifeguards are too! Vittone says, "If you're not looking at them, then you're not watching them."
Here are some more good links to check out for safety around the water:
Being in and around the water makes summer a dream; do what you can to make sure that dream doesn't become a nightmare.