How to Prevent Drowning – Prioritizing Swimming Pool Safety
Why are we talking about drowning and pool safety? At Manning Pool Service, we would love nothing more to discuss all the fun you can have around the pool and how we can make your pool beautiful. Sadly, we cannot keep quiet on this bleak subject for the following reasons:
Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death worldwide.
That’s right – drowning is not just a rare occurrence. According to the World Health Organization, drowning accounts for 7% of all injury-related deaths across the globe. In addition, WHO estimates that 360,000 people die of drowning each year.
In the United States alone, drowning accounted for an average of 3,536 deaths per year (from 2005-2014). That translates to ten deaths per day, and that doesn’t include boating-related incidents (332 deaths per year). In other words, this is a global phenomenon that affects all people from all walks of life – all genders, all ages, all classes. Even if a drowning doesn’t result in death, it can lead to brain damage, permanent disability, memory issues, and loss of basic motor function. This is why swimming pool water safety is so very important.
Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14.
Children are also at high risk for drowning, along with men and people who have increased access to water. Sadly, 1 in 5 people who die from unintentional drowning is a child either 14 years old or younger. While most of these cases occur at the child’s home swimming pool, a third of them happen in swimming pools of relatives, friends, or neighbors.
It can happen to anyone. In fact, most children who drown were last seen in the home and were not missing from their parents’ sight for more than five minutes. Because this happens to so many kids every year, it is essential to learn how to make sure your kids can stay safe. It is important to understand kids’ pool safety – how to keep your children safe, as well as instill the value of swimming pool safety rules in your kids themselves.
Despite its portrayal in movies and on TV, drowning is fast and silent.
Movies and TV often portray drowning as a loud, attention-grabbing event. However, this does not accurately reflect reality. In truth, drowning happens extremely quickly and is silent. According to the YMCA water safety classes of Houston, this is how fast drowning can occur:
10 seconds: In the time you can cross a room to grab a towel, a child in a bathtub can be submerged.
2 minutes: In the time you answer your phone, a child can lose consciousness.
4-6 minutes: In the time it takes for you to sign for a package at the front door, a child submerged in a tub or pool can sustain permanent brain damage.
Most importantly, DROWNING IS PREVENTABLE.
So what can we do to stop people from drowning? Well, first of all, we need to know the signs. Since drowning is fast and silent, learning what a drowning person actually looks and sounds like is the first step to drowning prevention.
Understand that people who are drowning are unable to call out or wave their arms for help. If they are unable to breathe, they are also unable to speak. Control of arm movements is also lost when drowning.
- Mouth alternating between sinking below and reappearing above the surface of 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
- Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.