Must-Read Article as Pool Season Begins

I just finished reading an article entitled “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning,” by Mario Vittone, and feel that it was filled with a lot of relevant and potentially life-saving information. The general gist of the article is that drowning victims often do not look like they are drowning, and therefore nobody jumps in to rescue them until it is too late. A couple of noteworthy quotes from the article:

  • Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life.
  • To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children, ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents)—of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. According to the CDC, in 10 percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch the child do it, having no idea it is happening.
  • Drowning people cannot wave for help.
  • This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble—they are experiencing aquatic distress.
  • Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning.
Take a few minutes and read the article for yourself – you’ll be glad that you did. And just a reminder: think twice before you ask someone else to watch your child for a couple of minutes at the neighborhood pool or at a backyard pool party. Even the most responsible adults are susceptible to getting wrapped up in a conversation, or to tending to the needs of their own children. Take your child with you if you need to leave the pool area for a couple of minutes, or hire a mothers’ helper who will be with your child at all times.
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I often think the most dangerous times for children to be in a pool are when adults are having a “gathering” or party. It is very easy to think someone else is supervising your child, when in fact they go unsupervised for minutes at a time. We know several families who have almost lost or lost a child to drowning in these types of circumstances. I put my non-swimming children in life vests at all times when we are not actually in the pool with them. And I do relax my standards for my two children who are on or have been on the swim team. I focus instead on my two non-swimmers and the baby.

  • JMB

    It’s this reason that I always hired lifeguards at our pool when we entertained other families. I found that I was fine watching my own children when I was alone with them, but the minute another adult stepped into the picture, my focus shifted to the other adult and off my children. I had a couple of near misses in our pool and after that I decided that if we wanted to have other families over, I would have to supply the lifeguard.

  • Kat0427

    Another poignant story, worth the read: