Drowning – It Doesn’t Look Like it Does in the Movies
Drowning is the number 2 cause of accidental death among children 15 and younger, but most people don’t know how to see the warning signs. In the movies you see someone shouting, splashing, and making flailing motions but in reality, drowning victims take a much more passive role. Most parents don’t even realize their children are drowning until it is too late. Out of the almost 750 Children that will drown next year, 375 of them will do so in close proximity of their parents (25 yards).
Here are some indicators you should watch out for:
1. Sound – Kids playing in water tend to make noise. But when they are having difficulty breathing, they are incapable of telling you.
2. Mouth level – the mouths of drowning victims are typically at the water level and just below. They are not above water long enough to inhale and instead swallow water.
3. Eyes – the eyes of drowning victims are closed or open but incapable of focusing (glossy).
4. Orientation – most drowning victims are vertical, but not using their legs
5. Arms – arm movements become involuntary, so drowning victims are unable to wave for help, but instead press down on the surface of the water. This can give the impression that they are climbing an invisible ladder.
So, when you see someone that looks like they are treading water with their heads low in the water the best thing you can do is as them if they are having trouble. If they are capable of answering you- chances are they are alright. If they can’t answer you have a limited window for rescue (20-60 seconds).
In Florida, we are always around water, so it’s important to learn the warning signs of drowning so we can save lives. If your child is being quiet in the water it’s a good idea to check it out!