Recognizing when someone is drowning can be trickier than you may expect. At Life Saver Pool Fence, we’re gearing up for pool season. That means pool parties, beaches and community pools. However, while swimming can be a fun activity, it can all go wrong in a matter of seconds.
After all, drownings can be a scary thing. According to the CDC, from 2005 – 2014 there were about ten (non-boating related) drowning deaths per day in the United States. About one-in-five of these were children aged 14 and younger. This is why active supervision is a key component of summertime water activities. Luckily, if you know what to look for, you can help someone who is in distress.
Drowning Can Be Deceptively Quiet
Unlike what you may see in movies, when someone is in trouble in the water, they won’t necessarily thrash in the water or scream for help. More often, they’ll get very quiet and slip under the water. Be on the lookout for these signs that someone may be drowning:
Quiet = Concern
When children are playing in the water, they are often boisterous and playful. If you are supervising children in the pool and they get quiet, this is cause for concern. When someone is drowning, there is often no time to call for help. Usually, the victim is gasping for air and water is obstructing their mouths.
The Person’s Arms are “Pushing Down”
As opposed to flailing their arms, a drowning person is more likely to have their arms at their side. In this case, the victim is trying to push their body up to get their mouth above water. Therefore, they will be pushing down instead of waving above their head.
Notice the Position of a Swimmer’s Head
When someone is having trouble getting air, they will intuitively try to move their head away from the water. For this reason, many people will tilt their heads back. You may think that they are simply looking up at the sky. However, if they are in a vertical position and their head is cocked back, this may be a sign that they are in trouble.
Alternately, a swimmer may be floating facedown or have their head tilted forward. Don’t mistake this for intentional floating. Instead, it can be a sign that they are in need of immediate assistance.
Even Experienced Swimmers Can Drown
Obviously, swimming lessons are a brilliant way to stay safer in the water. Unfortunately, they aren’t always enough. It is important to remember that all children need active supervision in the water. Just because someone knows how to swim doesn’t mean that they aren’t at risk of drowning. There are many possible ways for seasoned swimmers to get into trouble in the water. For instance, if a swimmer is tired and has drifted out too far, they may have trouble getting back. Alternately, a person who jumps into the water may not come back up if they hit their head on the way down.
Don’t let your fun outing turn tragic. Being able to recognize these signs while you are supervising swimmers can be the difference between life and death. Once you recognize these signs of drowning, it is time to take action. Click here to learn about how to save someone who is drowning.