Can You Spot a Child Who is Drowning?

Summer is here, and with that comes summer fun activities, but with every kind of summer recreation comes the risk of injury. Here in Maryland, paying attention to safety during the summer is even more important; we do not get year-round sunshine like many other states, and thus, the level of public education about safety is often lacking.

Drowning is a Huge Risk Factor

Pools can be incredibly dangerous for people of all ages, but especially for children. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S. Every day, two children under the age of 14 die from unintentional drowning. According to CDC statistics, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for kids under the age of 4.

You may think that you know all about preventing young ones from drowning. Certainly, if you know to be vigilant and to keep constant watch, you are on the right track. But there is much more about drowning that people do not know, that can lead to injury even with the most diligent adult supervision.

Signs of Drowning

Many people think drowning entails loud splashing, gasping, or screaming. In many cases, parents may divert their eyes, confident that they will hear a child that may be struggling. But in fact, drowning is a silent killer; most children who are drowning will not make a sound.

A recent video demonstrates how difficult drowning can be to spot. The video shows a large public pool, and challenges viewers to find the drowning child before the lifeguard in the video does (thankfully the lifeguard does get to the child before any injury is sustained). The video illustrates how hard it can be to spot a drowning child, especially in a sea of other swimmers, noises, and distractions.

Children drowning are often silent. Children struggling to stay afloat will use the short periods of time they can get their mouths above water for breathing, and not to scream for help.

Involuntary movement of the limbs takes over, causing them downward in order to push the body up; there is no ability to wave or splash to get attention. This reaction may actually cause the child to be positioned upright, not upside down or sideways, making it seem like the child is fine, and making it even more difficult to spot a child in distress.

Children should also be monitored for exhaustion. Even skilled young swimmers can succumb to fatigue. When children look weary or tired, it is time for them to get out of the water.

Recognizing the Signs

Experts say that glassy eyes, hair covering the eyes, and closed eyes are bad signs. Kids who look like they are exerting a lot of physical activity or motion, but are not moving anywhere, should be assisted immediately.

Even in areas where a lifeguard is present, children should be closely monitored. Parents know their kids better than anybody and are better equipped than lifeguards to spot when their children are in potential danger.

Make sure the law is on your side if you are injured in a pool or at the beach. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your injury or liability case.