Tag Archives: drowning

Drowning – Harder To Spot Than You May Think


There are nearly 3500 fatal drownings annually, which works out to nearly 10 drowning deaths a day. Thousands more children and adults are hospitalized for near-drowning, often resulting in long-term complications such as brain damage. Sadly, many drowning deaths are preventable but unfortunately, most people don’t truly know how to recognize a drowning victim – it isn’t always as apparent as the movies will have you believe.

Drowning Isn’t Always Obvious

Drowning is a tragic and too-common swimming hazard that can be prevented and detected if people learn to recognize the real signs to look out for and necessary precautions to take. Largely because of Hollywood most people think a drowning victim will be easy to spot, flailing their arms wildly, screaming for help at the top of their lungs and thrashing about but that is most often not the case. Most people drown terrifyingly quietly, and don’t get the attention they need until it is too late. Over 700 children drown annually, and shockingly, over half of them will be within eyeshot of a parent or guardian who doesn’t even realize what is happening.

4 Quiet Signs of A Drowning Victim

It is important to know what to watch out for when it comes to spotting a drowning victim. Keep a close eye on any young children that are near water as it only takes a couple inches of water for a child to drown. Here are some of the less obvious signs someone is in aquatic respiratory distress:

  1. Silence – most often a person who is drowning cannot call for help because they can’t even catch a breath – if children who are usually vocal when playing go silent, investigate as to why.
  2. Stillness – drowning victims are often nearly paralyzed in one position while they are struggling to surface or breathe, sometimes they may flail their arms but if someone is seriously near-drowned they may not be moving at all. Look for a person still, maybe face down near the water with an upright posture, hands may be down by their side or out in front of them.
  3. Facing downward – a drowning person is often faced into the water, their hair may be obstructing their face, they may appear stuck in one position.
  4. Unresponsive – a drowning person may appear dazed. If you wave at them and they don’t respond at all, they may be drowning and not just spaced out – take immediate action.

These signs may not apply in all cases, some people may be splashing, or reaching their arms up high, if you see anything at all out of the ordinary when it comes to swimmers or children playing in the water, be sure to check it out.

Drowning Prevention

To prevent drowning, be sure to:

  • Encourage swimming lessons for all members of your family.
  • Have lifesaving floatation devices nearby whenever you are at the beach or swimming pool.
  • Put arm floatees on any small child who will be in or near the water.
  • Keep a close eye on children playing in the water or swimming (remember to look for the drowning signs we outlined above).
  • Follow all pool rules and make sure your children aren’t engaging in roughhousing or dangerous horseplay near the water.
  • Ensure every person riding in a recreational boat or jet-ski is wearing a properly fitting life jacket and knows how to swim in case the boat capsizes.
  • Learn CPR and general first aid and teach all the members of your family so you can assist in case someone nearby ever begins to drown.

That concludes our swimming safety features. We hope you enjoy safe swimming this summer! Thanks for visiting DocChat.