Drowning is a violent struggle.
Don’t believe that!
Drowning is a very serious problem. Ten people drown to death every day in the United States and it is the second-leading cause of accidental death among children younger than 15. Understanding what drowning really looks like can help prevent injury or death.
Only in the movies do drowning victims wave their arms frantically and yell for help. The reality is much more subtle and drowning can occur in close proximity to others, without notice.
Firstly, a person who is drowning is unable to call out for help. The victim will alternately sink and rise above the water’s surface, and in the brief moments in which their head is above water, they will only have time to gasp for a single breath before submerging again.
Drowning persons are physically unable to wave their arms to attract attention. They instinctively extend their arms laterally in order to press against the water and raise themselves upward. Other movements are impossible.
If you notice any of the following signs, act quickly as drowning will generally occur in only 20 to 60 seconds:
- 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