Get to know the unexpected signs of drowning

Deceptively quiet, 10% of drownings in children happen while being observed by an adult.

Drowning doesn’t look like the thrashing, yelling scene that most people think it does. In most cases, those who are drowning are physiologically unable to call out for help. Their mouths can’t reach the surface of the water to inhale or exhale – never mind yell for help. While their arms instinctively try to keep their body upright and above the surface, they are not able to perform voluntary movements like waving for help.

In just 20 – 60 seconds, someone who is drowning will quietly struggle on the surface of the water until they become fully submersed. The second leading causes of death in children (just behind vehicle accidents), most drown within 25 yards of an adult.

Get to know the signs of drowning before you head to the lake this summer:

  • 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 position in water
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over onto back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Swim and water safety skills are key in the prevention of drowning. Register for a YMCA swim program today.