Drowning doesn't always look like drowning

Shell - June 9, 2011

SURPRISINGLY drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.

In reality, there is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this:

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 This year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. Ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

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