Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

Aaron sent me a link to a very well written post  by Mario Vittone, who is a seasoned US Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer: Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning. This post is A MUST read for all parents who will be spending time in the water with their children this summer. You will be shocked at how easy it is for someone to drown, right next to you.

I was actually astounded at some of the statistics: "drowning is  the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – 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. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening", says Vittone in his post.

These statistics show that drowning isn't the arms flailing, screaming, noisy panic that we see on TV and in movies. Mario brings up some very important points to consider when watching your child play in the water:
  1. Screaming takes breath and if you are drowning you cannot breath, therefore screaming is an impossible task.
  2. A drowning person is bobbing up and down so quickly that they do not have time to exhale, get a lung full of air and then scream: they are lucky to have enough time to even get a little bit if air in their lungs before they go back under the water again.
  3. Someone who is drowning is not going to wave to you for help. It is going to be all they can do to use their arms to try to keep themselves at the surface of the water.
  4. Drowning people can usually only struggle on the surface of the water for 20-60 seconds before total submersion occurs. Drowning is a very quick, quiet event..... 20-60 seconds! That's it.
Please take a moment to read Mario's post. He lists some things to look for when watching someone in the water, signs that a person is struggling and needing help. With summer just around the corner, and hours spent hanging out at the beach, it really is worth your time. 

Knowledge is power and power is piece of mind.

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