This is a macabre subject, I know. But, one that needs to be considered. Summertime means more time around water. Drowning is a real danger. It is the second leading cause of accidental death of children aged 15 years and younger. Here’s what to watch out for. . .
- mouths alternately sinking below the surface of the water and then resurfacing.
- no call for help (there is not enough air or time above water to vocalize)
- no wave for help (the arms are pressing down on the surface of the water in an attempt to propel head above water).
This water surface struggle usually occurs for 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
Be aware of swimmers with their head low in the water (or mouth at water level), those with eyes closed or glassy, hyperventilation or gasping, or if they appear to be climbing an invisible ladder. This is the person who needs your help to ward off disaster.
One other trick, ask the swimmer if he/she is okay. If they answer you, they are more successful with underwater kicking and treading water. A life-preserver may be needed instead of you physically jumping in to rescue them.
Stay vigilant. Of the 750 children who will drown in the next year, about 375 of them will be within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. The CDC notes that 10% of drownings the adults watch and are unaware of what is happening.
Water safety is so important. Be a poolside lifeguard yourself. Insist on children’s swimming lessons. Consider taking them for yourself to hone your skills or take a lifeguarding course!