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Drowning Looks Nothing Like It Does in the Movies

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We all do it. At the pool, the lake or the ocean, we keep a watchful eye on our kids, ready to leap into the water if we see any signs of drowning.

Unfortunately, per an article on gCaptain, the "I'm drowning!" clues most people look for -- splashing, waving, yelling for help -- are pure fiction, things only seen in the movies. The fact is, drowning is often quiet and undramatic.

Of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In roughly 10 percent of these tragedies, a parent  will actually watch their child drown ... and have no idea it is happening.

"This doesn't mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn't in real trouble -- they are [experiencing] aquatic distress," writes gCaptain's Mario Vittone. "But unlike true drowning [victims], these victims can still assist in [their] own rescue."

Look for these signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level

  • Head tilted back with mouth open

  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus

  • Eyes closed

  • Hair over forehead or eyes

  • Not using legs; vertical

  • Hyperventilating or gasping

  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway

  • Trying to roll over on the back

Moms, have your kids ever given you a drowning scare?

4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Liz July 6, 2010, 4:18 PM

When I was in about 3rd grade. My daycare class went swimming, and I nearly drowned. I couldnt breathe and was gasping for air, I was try to swim up but couldnt. My best friend was able to pull me up to the surface and help me. The daycare workers and even the lifeguards didnt notice a thing.
I will not allow my son to go swimming without me there. Most lifeguards are highschool and college students, Sorry but Im not relying on them to save my child.

Crystal King July 6, 2010, 7:17 PM

My 14 month old son drowned in a water feature pond in our backyard. It has 1ft of water in the pond. He left my site for under 2 mins, his brother that is 10 months older came to get my crying and pointing and acting very uptight. He was acting like he has never done before which made me very interested in what he needed. I started out my back door, as we were headed in the direction of the pond I could see something that did not look right. My Husband and I pulled him from the water and began CPR. We were very lucky, after what seemed forever he began to come somewhat thru. The Paramedics arrived very quickly thank God. He spent 5 days in a coma in NICU. To this day he has no signs of drowning. My Husband and I have a very hard time letting the boys near water of anykind. I even make the shower instead of taking a bath. It has been 2 yrs.. Please don’t even for a second take your eyes off not even in your own backyard..

C July 7, 2010, 8:20 PM

I witnessed a 3 year old almost drown while my child was taking swim lessons. This happened in the “little pool” while parents and lifeguards were present- less than 15ft away. This child could swim but something happened and she couldn’t make it to the side. I realized she was in trouble at the same time a lifeguard did and luckily the lifeguard reacted quickly and saved her life. It was just as this article described - completely silent.

Kate July 14, 2010, 8:59 PM

My 3 year old son was playing in the pool today with a friend of his; I was talking with her mom, holding my 2 month old, not more than 15 feet away. All of a sudden I looked over and he was in the middle of the 3 foot end, his blonde hair bobbing just beneath the surface. It took me a second to realize he wasn’t playing. I ran over, jumped in the pool and pulled him out. He was gasping for air once on the pool’s edge, and in shock. Finally, he threw up twice and started crying. I will never, EVER, again be distracted with my child in the pool. It only takes a second, and my situation could have turned out much worse. Thank you God for this miracle. I’ve learned my lesson.

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