Will you know when your child is REALLY drowning?
What we are subconsciously trained to identify as the act of drowning, in reality is nothing like it. Then how do you know if someone is really in need of help? Read on
My idea of drowning, till now, was of the person frantically calling for help and flailing his arms. At least that’s what I gathered from the myriad television shows and movies that ever depicted a drowning incident. However, this article by Mario Vittone on his blog suggests that it is not really the case.
The Instinctive Drowning Response—so named by Francesco A Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like what's shown on television. There really is no screaming and shouting and extremely physical acts of discomfort that can be easily spotted.
Of course, they may call for help, but that would be before they actually start drowning. After that, he is just desperately gasping for air. According to Webmd, “They're silent and struggling just to keep their nose and mouth above the water," says Alan Steinman, MD, and a former director of health and safety for the US Coast Guard.
According to the report by WHO, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. Sounds alarming, doesn't it?
Continue reading for tips on how to identify whether someone is really drowning and needs help.
It’s scary to know that often we don’t realise that someone is drowning till the tragedy has struck. Now imagine going to the pool or beach with your children and you aren't even equipped to identify if and when they are in danger? Unthinkable, right? For parents and for everyone else, here are some signs that say that someone is in trouble:
Unable to call for help: The person will be busy gasping for breath, before trying to make a sound or call out for help. When he is drowning, since his mouth will sink under water before resurfacing and then sinking back again, he will have little time to call out in that fraction of a moment.
Sinking and resurfacing: He may look like he is just dipping in and out of water as there won't be any tell-tale signs of frantic distress. What he is actually doing is bobbing up and down in water, for that breath of air.
Flail for help? Not possible. Courtesy sheer instinct, he will be busy pushing himself out of water that flailing his arms for help will be out of question. He may extend his arms, however he will be unable to move forward.
A quiet child in water? Act immediately: A child can't possibly play quietly in water. There's usually shouting, screaming and splashing around. However, if you see that he is unnaturally calm, call out to him, ask him whether he is okay. If there is no response, you know you have to rush.
While knowing how to swim is essential, even the best swimmer can drown. Just because your child knows how to swim, doesn't mean you can let him into the water without supervision. The rule applies to adults as well. As long as you know what to watch out for, don't deprive your family of a good splash in the pool.