Drowning: What You May Not Know

Having small children, it has always been a comfort to me to see lifeguards posted around at waterparks, pools, and beaches.  Drowning is quick and silent.  It can happen in less than a minute.  And a mother only has two eyes. (No matter what my kids think about that other pair of eyes in the back of my head.)

Read some scary statistics on unintentional drowning

Learn to see the signs of distress in the water. Educate yourself and your children.

Let’s give a big shout-out THANK YOU to the lifeguards!

True Story.

Yesterday, we got a chance to see a lifeguard in action at Noah’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells:

During one of the wave cycles at The Big Kahuna,

a young girl went under the water surface…

Super quick, a life guard jumped in…

He retrieved the girl from underneath the water and brought her up.

As soon as her mouth was out of the water, she was absolutely fine and was able to walk out of the wave pool on her own.

Way to go, Noah’s Ark Waterpark lifeguards!!!

Now, you may think, “hey, it doesn’t sound like she was acting like she was drowning.”  But drowning lurks in any body of water.   This little girl just went under the water for a moment.

Learn the characteristics of the Instinctive Drowning Response.

She wasn’t struggling.  Or thrashing about.

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)

In other words, the person is just too busy drowning to let you know that she is drowning.  And so, she doesn’t look like he’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 not, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to her.   (source)

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

You cannot relax around kids and water. Drowning can happen in seconds.
It’s quick and it’s quiet and it can happen to your child. 

Everyone thinks someone else is watching.

Be safe.


2 responses to “Drowning: What You May Not Know

  1. Wow. What a great post. And what an important reminder. Thanks for the heads up, Kathy.


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