Do You Know the Signs of Drowning?

Signs of DrowningSummer is here, which means kids and adults all over Florida will be hitting the beach or the pool. Most people assume they know what drowning looks like, but experts warn that the signs of drowning are not always obvious.

As Boca Raton personal injury lawyers, we want everyone to know the signs of drowning. Awareness is key to keeping kids and adults safe in the water.

Drowning a Leading Cause of Death in Children

Drowning is a top cause of fatal accidents in children. For kids under age five, drowning surpasses even car accidents as a leading cause of fatalities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 3,500 drowning deaths in the U.S. each year between 2005 and 2014. Drowning remains a serious problem across all age groups, but children are far more likely than adults to drown.

Drowning Can Be “Silent”

Water safety experts say movies have led many people to believe drowning is a loud, obvious event. When drowning is depicted on television and film, it usually features a person gasping for air, yelling, and waving their arms.

The reality is usually much different. It takes just moments for a young child to drown.

Here are some signs of quiet or silent drowning:

  • Silence: Many people think a drowning victim will call out for help. In most cases, however, the person’s mouth sinks below the water and cuts off their air. Without the ability to draw in air, the victim can’t shout for assistance.
  • No flailing arms: Children who get into trouble in the water may instinctively extend their arms forward rather than waving them around.
  • Upright position: A drowning child may not sink or even kick. Most children can struggle for up to 60 seconds before going under.
  • Glassy eyes: The child’s eyes may become unfocused or glassy.
  • Obscured face: If you can’t see the child’s face, it could be a warning sign of drowning.
  • Head low in the water: The child’s mouth may be at water level or just below it.

Just because a child isn’t screaming or calling out for help does not mean the child is okay in the water. Because drowning doesn’t always look like drowning, it’s important to supervise kids in the water at all times.

If a child looks like he or she is in distress, or something just doesn’t seem right, experts recommend asking the child if he or she is okay. If the child can respond, chances are everything is fine.

When children don’t reply, experts say parents and caregivers may have just 30 seconds to get the child out of the water.

Keeping Kids Safe in the Water

If you plan on swimming this summer, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of a drowning event. Safety experts stress the importance of supervising children in the water at all times.

Parents can also minimize drowning risks by making sure their children know how to swim. Young kids are usually quite adept at learning swimming skills. Even children as young as one can learn to swim.

If you plan to take advantage of Florida’s beaches, you should also use the buddy system any time you venture into the water. Parents can pair up siblings or take a child’s friend along to make sure everyone has someone to watch out for them.

Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyers

Contact a Boca Raton personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured at a pool or beach.

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