Drowning Prevention

Recognizing when Someone is Drowning

Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing and yelling seen on television is rarely seen in real life. Nearly half of children who drown do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In 10% of those drownings, the adult will actually see them drown, having no idea it is happening. Most drowning people are unable to wave or call for help. The instinctive drowning response causes them to press their arms down on the water to lift their mouths to breathe, but not long enough to yell for help. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, drowning people may struggle less than a minute before submersion occurs.

Someone yelling for help and thrashing isn?t in real trouble yet. Their distress may not last long, but they are still be capable to grab lines or a throw ring.

Signs of drowning:

Ref. "Drowning doesn't look like drowning" - by Mario Vittone

Drowning Prevention Technique

When people fall into water with clothes on, they automatically try to swim, which tires them out quickly. An innovative training method to prevent drowning in this situation is a Japanese technique called uitemate, which is simply floating and waiting. When in distress in the water, you shouldn't swim or panic but instead just float on your back and wait to be rescued. Hold anything above you that can help you float, such as an empty bottle or paddle.

It's important that people know that if they gets into a water accident, they should use uitemate first. Children can be trained to do this at a young age. Older people may have a harder time learning not to panic.

Similarly, if you see someone else who is drowning, you should not dive into the water to try to save them. This often results in two drownings. You should first get someone to call an emergency number (9-1-1), then instruct the person in the water to roll over and float on their back until help can safely retrieve them. Pass them a floation device, only if you can do so without danger of the drowning person grabbing you instead!