How to tell when someone is drowning

Pool: Danny Fulgencio
Pool: Danny Fulgencio

“Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event.”

Coupled with the picture of a crowded pool, those words, about three graphs down in the article, “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning”, are chilling.

As public pools reach capacity, and private pools become populated with our kiddos, their friends, our nieces, nephews, neighbors’ children, et al., knowing what to look for could save a life this summer.

[Learn more about our neighborhood’s city pools.]

“Of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. According to the CDC, in 10 percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch the child do it, having no idea it is happening.”

In Dallas, as it is nationwide, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental-injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14 and the leading cause of accidental- injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4*

If you don’t wish to read the whole thing, at least remember this:

A drowning person, after an initial 20-second struggle, does not make a sound and they don’t thrash around. A drowning child might appear to be climbing an invisible ladder … have his head tilted back with mouth open … look as if she is trying to swim, but not making headway…

As the author points out, children make noise when they are playing in the pool. Silence is a red flag.

*According to a 2007 Children’s Medical Center Dallas report.

[Source: Slate.com]

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  • Mark

    I watched a little girl, no more than 6 years old, go through this last year at the Verandah club. She was doing everything described in this article, but at the time I could just tell something was wrong. She wasn’t making any noise, and her mouth would go under, then above with with her head tilted back. She looked like she was trying to tread water in the direction of the side of the pool, but was staying in the same place. I swam to her, picked her up, set her on the side where she could stand. The girl was scared. Her parents got her, got out of the pool, and acted like it was no big deal. Maybe it wasn’t to them, but this article nailed what I witnessed that day.