Note from the Editor:
The heat of summer is prime time for water play. But did you know that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in the world, and 76% of those incidents involve children under five? If you’ve got little ones and are worried about keeping them safe this summer, you won’t want to miss this visual guide to water safety for kids from Mom Loves Best.
A couple of years back (seven actually), we published an article on how to recognize if a person was drowning. It’s not related to photography per se, but we know that many of our readers enjoy the beach, the swimming pool and the cottage lake during the hot summer months. Some of you might even have a waterproof camera with you to record those fun family days.
But would you know if a loved one was drowning? Don’t be so sure you know the signs. I remember way back once we were swimming in a hotel pool with friends, all having a great time splashing and laughing. A hotel guest (a stranger to us) who was sitting at a poolside table suddenly rushed over, reached out with his hand and pulled one of our friends out of the water. None of us, bobbing up and down in the water right beside him, recognized that he had sunk under the water and was in distress. That stranger did — and saved our friend’s life that day. We missed out on the most telling sign: A drowning person often does not look like he or she is drowning at all. In fact, the very absence of noise may be the most subtle sign.
Jenny Silverstone, from Mom Loves Best is our guest author today on this very important subject. She also has an infographic to summarize it all.
The Signs of Drowning
Drowning is a particularly dangerous hazard because its victims are often silent. If a person is drowning, they can’t breathe – and if they can’t breathe, they can’t yell for help. Signs of drowning are subtle, so it’s important to be aware of what to look for when supervising children around water.
Make sure to watch your children’s eyes in particular when they’re swimming. Signs of trouble include closed or unfocused eyes, or hair covering their forehead and eyes. They may also appear to be trying to swim, but not making any forward progress. Finally, if their head is low in the water or tilted back, it could signal that they’re in distress.
Tips for Preventing Drowning
Since 75% of drowning deaths occur in private swimming pools, the best way to prevent drowning is by properly supervising your child. If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, make sure it’s fully fenced with a child-proof latch, that you cover it whenever it’s not in use, and that you deflate any portable pools when you’re not using them.
Finally, make sure you teach your child how to swim and don’t rely heavily on personal flotation devices to save your child when they’re playing in the water this summer. Knowing solid swimming technique is key, and it may not always be possible to teach your child if you’re not a certified instructor yourself. If you’re on the fence about springing for swimming lessons this summer, just do it – it could be the best way (besides your supervision, of course) to prevent a drowning tragedy from striking your family.