Children And Pools Don't Always Mix: Know The Signs Of Drowning

Posted on: 1 July 2015

Swimming is a great way to cool down during the summer. Unfortunately, pools and children don't always mix well. In fact, children can drown in just a matter of minutes if left unattended. According to statistics, 137 children drown in 2012 - 100 of those children were under the age of 5. 

You may think that you'll be alerted by noise or splashing if your child is drowning, however, that's not always correct. In fact, many drownings are completely silent. If you're having a swimming pool installed (by professionals such as those found through in your home, you need to know what drowning looks like. These tips will help you recognize the signs of silent drowning.

Gasping for Air

As soon as a child starts drowning, their brain reacts by conserving air. That means that your child will not be making noises to alert you. Instead, your child will be gasping for air. During this time, your child may look like nothing is wrong, unless you look at their eyes. In some cases, you may only notice that your child looks frightened. If you see that your child looks visibly alarmed but is not making noise, get to them as soon as possible.

Bobbing in the Water

Young children who have not learned how to swim yet, may go right into drowning response as soon as they enter the water. They will take a deep breath and begin bobbing in the water.  Many times, children will begin to bob in and out of the water as they try to gasp for air.

However, some children will immediately sink to the bottom of the pool. If you're having a gathering where young children will be present, it's important that you have an adult act as a designated watcher. This will ensure that young children are caught before they can enter the water alone.

Arms Extended Wide

Movies often show drowning victims thrashing in the water, with their arms flaying wildly. Unfortunately, that's not usually the case. When children are drowning, they will usually extend their arms out to the side and keep them stiff. This is the body's way of trying to stay above water.

Grasping for Help

When older children start to drown, they may instinctively try to save themselves by grabbing on to anyone – or anything – that's nearby. Unfortunately, that can mean that they take someone else down with them. If you see one child grasping on to another child, and both children look panic-stricken, jump in the water as quickly as possible.

Children can drown in an inch of water. If your children are going to be near a swimming pool this summer, you need to be prepared for accidents. Use this guide to familiarize yourself with what drowning looks like.


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