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Thursday, June 2, 2011

What Does Drowning Victim Look Like

As most of you know, we have a swimming pool, and have had one for as many years as we have lived here in FL. Both my kids learned to swim very young. My kids are good swimmers, and understand water safety. However, I am still very diligent about supervising them when they are in the water. I read a very interesting article the other day, and one I never really thought about and maybe others don't either. It was basically about what a drowning victim looks like.

You, like me, may envision a drowning child, or adult, flailing in the water, screaming, panicking and sucking in water. This is actually what leads up to the victim drowning and is not actually drowning. Because they panic, and lose control they actually are sucking water into their lungs. The definition of drowning is death from suffocation resulting from aspiration of water or other substance or fluid. Drowning occurs because the liquid prevents breathing. The lungs of a drowned person may contain very little water or other liquid. It doesn't take much liquid for the airway to be cut off and breathing to cease. Once they have stopped breathing, the body will go limp and the person just looks like they are floating face down. Soon after the heart will stop beating, and full cardiac arrest will occur. You might think the child is playing Dead Man's Float, because that is truly what a drowning victim looks like. They are face down, body limp, with no movement. If you see a child, or adult doing this, then poke them. You will know soon enough if they are playing Dead Man's Float or a drowning victim.

According to the medical dictionary, drowning victims should be treated as follows, First aid measures are begun as soon as the individual is rescued from the water. Blankets and other coverings are used only to prevent loss of body heat. artificial respiration or other appropriate respiratory support should be administered at once to anyone who has stopped breathing. A victim who is unconscious but still breathing should be placed in a reclining position, preferably on the side. If the victim is not breathing and there is no evidence of a heart beat, cardiopulmonary resuscitation is begun immediately.

There are a lot of springs here in FL, and they are beautiful. They offer a cool place in the summer. However, I do not frequent them, because there are no lifeguards. I do not feel safe for my children, or other children, so I just don't go. You basically swim at your own risk. It is not for me.

If you own a pool it is very important you learn basic First Aid, CPR, and have strict pool rules for ultimate safety. Be sure everyone in your house knows how to swim. Teach your children to tread water, and not panic should something happen in the water that frightens them, and yourself. You never know how you will react to a situation, but like a fire drill practicing a routine can help get through it safely. It doesn't take much for a child to drown. Have a locked gate, especially for very young children with an alarm. If you have an above ground pool, always remove the ladder when no one is supervising to prevent anyone from entering your pool without your knowledge.


betchai said...

great information you shared Melissa, I love playing with the water too, and it is always important we keep our presence of mind so we can think correctly for our safety.

Melissa said...

Thank you Betchai, and yes I agree. I think sometimes it is so easy to get distracted and that is when disaster can happen.

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