The Silent Signs of Drowning . . .
Posted July 17, 2012 in
As we dive into summer, many of us will be spending time at one of the thousands of lakes and rivers that surround west Michigan, not to mention the countless swimming pools that dot our backyards. It's important to remember that most public swimming areas will not have lifeguards overseeing the kids, protecting them from water mishaps.
By Joe Edger, Aquatics Director, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids
As a parent of two children and the aquatics director at the David D. Hunting Y, I wanted to share with you some thoughts that as parents you could use to prevent a child’s drowning. Reactions lifeguards are trained to spot the signs of drowning that give them a clue before a drowning takes place.
Contrary to what is portrayed on television or in movies, drowning is not loud; in fact, a drowning is a silent killer.
Typically, the victim slips below the surface of the water with little to no noise or splashing. When distressed swimmers become drowning victims, all their energy is used to try to save themselves. They have no energy or air left to shout for help. This is the main reason that uninterrupted adult supervision is necessary, as a child can go from swimming to drowning in less than 20 seconds.
- Keep a keen eye on your child. Make sure they are not getting dehydrated. Everyone sweats while swimming and many people do not realize that their child can get overheated and dehydrated while they are actually in the water!
- As children get tired, their kicking and swimming in the water becomes more vertical. Their legs and bodies begin to sink and they struggle to keep their faces out of the water.
- Fatigued children tilt their heads back to “reach” for air, just as they would turn towards safety to try and get an adult’s attention with their last reach or movement.
- If you are able to see the face of a struggling child, they will have a panicked look on their face and their eyes will be extremely large.
Children’s drowning deaths are preventable!
The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids official Y-USA certified Aquatics programming, the YMCA Swim Lessons Program for Parent/Child, provides parents and their children with a foundation for water skills and instruction to progress, in addition to comfortably introducing the child to the water. Please check out all our Aquatics Programs by clicking here.