Drowning signs aren’t like the movies

(Reposting from June 2010.)

Summer is in full swing, and the hot weather makes being in water one of the best activities for young and old alike.

But whether at a lake, community pool, or in your backyard; drowning lurks as a quiet threat…

We’ve been conditioned to think drowning is some sort of dramatic thrashing about. As parents watching our children in the water, we assume that we’d obviously notice any trouble (as we occasionally look up from our book) and know that he or she was in danger.

But we’ve been misled.

Television and movies are designed to depict the drama – not the everyday.

When a person begins to drown, the Instinctive Drowning Response kicks in. They aren’t able to cry out, their respiratory system is busy trying to breathe. They aren’t able to wave their arms overhead like you expect. In fact it may look very much like just playing quietly in the water. Very undramatic. Until the person slowly sinks below the water surface.  (trackback)

Drowning movements can actually look like the person is doing the dog paddle – which wouldn’t give you any cause for alarm.

Sometimes the most important indicator that someone is drowning is that she doesn’t look like she’s drowning. She may just seem to be looking up at the sky, shore, pool deck, or dock. Ask her, “Are you all right?” If she can answer at all, she probably is. If she returns a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to her.   (source)

Watch this video of a trained lifeguard rescue caught on film as Frank Pia explains the instinctive drowning response.

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2 responses to “Drowning signs aren’t like the movies

  1. Pingback: Drowning: What You May Not Know | Southwest Wisconsin Community of Homeschools

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