Do you know the signs of drowning?
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children under
the age of 15. Every year, about 750 children die in drowning accidents.
About half of these children will be within 25 yards of an adult when
they die. Often the adult has no idea the child was in trouble.
In movies, the drowning victim splashes, waves and yells to get attention,
but in real life, the signs of drowning are subtle. Before you head to
the pool this summer, learn to recognize the signs of drowning.
The Instinctive Drowning Response is the technical name for the behavior
seen in people who are drowning.
West Palm Beach personal injury attorney Craig Goldenfarb advises that parents forget what they have seen on TV
and learn about the Instinctive Drowning Response.
Drowning people are unable to call for help.
In order to call for help, a person must be breathing. If someone is not
able to breathe, his or her voice will not work.
When a person is drowning his mouth sinks below the surface of the water.
Although, the mouth may come out of the water, there is not enough time
to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. Instead the victim must concentrate
exhaling and getting more air.
Drowning people cannot wave for help.
Breathing is a body's highest priority. The brain of a drowning victim
is focused on getting air, not calling for help. If a person is drowning,
instinct will cause the victim to extend her arms laterally and press
down on the surface of the water in order to push her body so she can
lift her mouth out of the water to breathe.
A drowning person cannot stop drowning in order to wave for help. The
Instinctive Drowning will also prevent the victim from moving toward a
rescuer or reaching out for life saver, hook, life line or other rescue
Once a person begins drowning, they must be rescued in 20 to 60 seconds.
This is as long as a body is able to remain upright in the water.
Other signs of drowning:
- Victim does not respond to the question "Are you alright?"
- The victim's head is low in the water and the mouth is at water level
- The victim's head is tilted back and the mouth is open
- Eyes are unable to focus and look glassy and empty
- Eyes are closed
- The victims hair covers the forehead or eyes
- Victim is not using legs
- The victim is hyperventilating or gasping
- The victim seems to be swimming in a direction, but is not making headway
- Victim tries to roll over on his back
- Victim moves as if climbing an invisible ladder
So is a person that is yelling for help really in trouble? They may be.
These are the signs of aquatic distress. Victims of aquatic distress can
get the attention of others and can assist in their own rescue.
Experts remind us that children playing in the water are supposed to make
noise. If children are quiet, it is time to find out why.
For more information about swimming pool safety, read our article, "Safe Swimming: A West Palm Beach Drowning Lawyer's Guide To Pool Safety".
West Palm Beach drowning accident attorney Craig Goldenfarb represents victims of Florida swimming pool accidents.
To discuss an accident with Mr. Goldenfarb,contact the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb at (561) 600-5605 and ask to schedule a free legal consultation.