During the warmer months, it is not unusual for individuals and families to want to enjoy the water. Whether it is in a pool, one of the Rio Grande Valley lakes, or at a beach (such as South Padre Island), this is a fun family activity that also provides a source of exercise; however, water safety is important and the risk of drowning is real. The water is a powerful force and can cause child injuries or, even, take the lives of even the greatest of swimmers. There are several important points about drowning that everyone should know to ensure that friends and family stay safe while enjoying the water.
1.Child Injuries: Drowning Can Occur In Small Amounts of Water
Most people believe that drowning requires a deep swimming area to occur; however, this isn’t necessarily true. Every year, kids drown in something as small as a bathtub. While many people think about drowning happening as a result of gradual fatigue or rough waves, someone who passes out in a bathtub, particularly a toddler who may not know how to swim at all, is at risk of drowning. It can happen in inches of water if someone passes out face down in a puddle somewhere. It is important for everyone to understand that drowning can that occur in unconventional places.
2. Drowning can Happen Quickly
Some may think that drowning happens to people who mistakenly stay out swimming in the water for hours, eventually grow tired, and sink below the surface of the waves. While this can create a drowning risk, the act of drowning can happen quickly. Someone who is struggling to stay afloat may only struggle for a few seconds before slipping under the surface of the water. If someone has been injured, this injury could also cause them to be unable to stay afloat. Once they sink under the surface, it becomes much more difficult to spot the person, and their lungs can fill with water quickly. This highlights the point that everyone must remain vigilant.
3.Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning
People who have watched movies have likely seen people drowning on the big screen during a warm spring or summer day. They often shout for help, flail their arms and legs, and desperately try to get someone’s attention. Unfortunately, drowning often doesn’t look this way. Those who are struggling to stay afloat will not be able to keep their mouths above the surface and, therefore, will not be able to shout for help. Furthermore, the instinctive response while drowning is to try and push the water down to stay afloat. There will not be any waving. Everyone should understand what to look for.
4.Signs of Drowning
In light of this, some of the signs of drowning that everyone should be alert for include a head tilted back with the mouth wide open, as people struggle to keep their mouth near a source of air. Those who are struggling may have glassy eyes or could even be closing their eyes. They may look like they are hyperventilating or gasping for air. They are probably going to be struggling to swim in a climbing ladder motion but are unlikely to be moving. They could also try to roll over onto their back where their mouth will have easier access to the air. The last thing that people will see is likely their hair (because it floats in the water) before it slumps beneath the surface of the water.
5.Child Injuries can Cause Drowning Quickly
While fatigue can play a major role in drowning, it is often ocean or pool injuries that lead to drowning situations. The act of swimming is physically demanding and often requires the use of the arms and the legs at the same time. If someone loses strength in any of these limbs, such as a child injury that occurs due to a collision with an object or person, they could drown quickly. Parents should educate their children to avoid other objects, particularly boats while swimming to prevent a serious child injury from occurring.
6.The Statistics on Drowning are Alarming
Drowning is a massive problem in society and it impacts children at an alarming rate. According to statistics, drowning is one of the top five causes of death in children in over half of the countries in the world. Between the years of 2005 and 2014, there were an average of over 3,500 drowning deaths each year. This is a rate of about ten deaths per day. Around one in five of these deaths were in children. Even if someone doesn’t die from drowning, many more have to visit the emergency department for nonfatal submersion child injuries or pool injuries.
7. What to Do During a Drowning Event
Anytime someone suspects an individual of drowning, it is important to ask for help and call 911 for emergency responders. If a lifeguard is nearby, warn them. After this, only try to remove the person from the water if the area is safe. Once someone has been removed following a drowning event, check to see if the person is breathing by feeling for breath near their mouth or by watching for chest rise and fall. If the person is not breathing, check for a pulse. If there is no pulse, start CPR if trained to do so.
Drowning is a significant problem and it can be devastating for a family when it involves a child. For this reason, it is important for parents to speak with their children about water safety and to ensure that they have swimming lessons. Any family who has questions about a drowning event should contact GOM Law, located in and around Texas, to speak with an experienced legal professional. It is natural to have questions following a drowning event and everyone should feel comfortable asking for help when it is needed