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Do You Know What Drowning Looks Like?


Let’s say you have a pool, and you have guests, visitors or kids who come to use your pool. You are responsible, so you always make sure that you or an adult who can swim, are in the nearby vicinity whenever people come to use your pool. But for as strong a swimmer as you may be, the first step in pool safety is recognizing who is actually in trouble in the water, and who is in need of rescue.

You Think You Know

That may seem obvious. You may think you know what it looks like when someone is drowning in the water, or that you could spot someone in trouble in a pool. But actually, the signs of drowning are not very intuitive and they are decidedly not what you see in the movies.

No Splashing

In the movies or on TV, people who drown are flailing about, splashing, and crying out for help. But that’s not reality. Someone who is truly in trouble in the water is often quite silent.

There may be absolutely no splashing at all. That’s because someone truly in trouble will usually have their limbs under the water, trying to paddle or wade enough to keep themselves above water. They are not violently crashing their arms on the surface.

In fact, because their limbs are busy underneath the water trying to keep themselves above the water, they are often unable to reach nearby objects, like floats or a ledge, which, if reached, would be enough to save them.

Eerily Quiet

They are often not screaming out and may not even be able to cry out for help. Rather, they are preserving their breaths, focusing on grabbing as much air as they can, when they can. This survival instinct prevents them from being able or willing to cry out. They also may have water or hair in their mouths, which also contributes to the inability to call out for help.

All of this means that drowning is often very quiet–which unfortunately we tend to associate as a sign that someone is doing OK.

That’s why you simply cannot just rely on what you hear (or don’t hear) to indicate distress. You can certainly ask someone if they are OK. As a general rule, if someone can calmly indicate that they are OK, there is a good chance they are not in serious or immediate distress.

When to Worry

You should be worried when someone in the water cannot open their eyes (closed eyes are a response to distress in the water), if they have hair in the face, gasping breaths, and immobility–that is, someone appears to be moving a lot in the water, but not going anywhere.

Drowning, and pools, are major contributors to death and serious injury. Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you know someone who has been injured in a pool.




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