Varied information on Drowning
“A Drowning Happens In Seconds
It could happen to you! A diligent father switches his attention to the phone while his child sinks lifelessly to the bottom of the swimming pool. A normally attentive mother is cooking in the kitchen, her youngster falls into the neighbor’s pool. A conscientious babysitter is distracted by the needs of one of her many charges, another wanders off and drowns.
Obviously supervision is critically important, but it’s virtually impossible to supervise young children every minute of every day. That is why parents and caregivers must provide multiple layers of protection – pool fencing, self-closing, and self-locking gates, automatic sliding door closers, pool alarms, automatic safety covers, as well as constant supervision.
From : CDC- Lifeguard Effectiveness-A Report of the Working Group
Each year, about 4,000 people die from drowning in the United States (National Center for Health Statistics, 2000). Drowning was a leading cause of unintentional injury death among all ages in 1998, and the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1-14 that same year (National Center for Health Statistics, 2000). Approximately 50-75% of drownings occur in open water such as oceans, lakes, rivers, and ponds (Dietz & Baker, 1974). About 60% of drowning deaths among children occur in swimming pools (Dietz & Baker, 1974).
….The importance of lifeguards providing patron surveillance, especially monitoring the behavior of swimmers, can be demonstrated with a brief description of how persons drown. Many people assume that drowning persons are easy to identify because they will exhibit obvious signs of distress in the water, such as yelling or waving their arms. However, this kind of behavior is not common. Instead, people tend to drown in more quiet, less attention-getting ways. Drowning persons usually struggle to keep their mouth above the surface of the water in order to breathe. Struggling to stay afloat and possibly suffocating, they are rarely able to call out or wave their arms. Observational studies of persons at fat water (non-surf) beaches have revealed that non-swimming adults who fnd themselves in water over their heads are generally able to struggle on the surface of the water for about 60 seconds, while infants and very small children can submerge in as little as 20 seconds. These characteristics of drowning — the inability of a person to call or wave for help and the short time period before submerging — emphasize the need for lifeguards as a source for continuous surveillance and immediate action.
…Swimming lessons do not insure safety. About 25% of all young drowning victims have had swimming lessons. A child who falls into water unexpectedly will panic and forget his swimming skills.
9 MY T H S O F D R O W N IN G
1. Is drowning really a problem?
A. Yes. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1-4 in California. A residential pool is 14 times more likely to cause a death than an automobile.
2. Don’t more children die in open water than in pools?
A. No. 50% of deaths by drowning occur in residential pools.
3. Isn’t it more important to have a locked gate to keep neighbors out?
A. No. 65% of the children were at their own home at the time of the incident. 46% of the children were last seen safe inside the house just before the drowning. 72% had direct access to the pool once they were outside the house.
4. Isn’t it just parental neglect that causes drowning?
A. No. According to the U.S. CPSC Drowning Study, conscientious parents who understand the need for supervision were almost always present.
5. Won’t swimming lessons protect a child from drowning?
A. No. Swimming lessons do not prepare a child for a drowning or a near drowning situation.
6. Isn’t constant supervision enough to prevent drowning?
A. No. We recommended “layers” of protection which include a well maintained non-climbable fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate, alarm systems, powered safety pool covers, and self-closing, self-latching doors with automatic sliding door closers.
7. Is there any proof that fences or safety barriers work? Can’t a child climb over a fence?
A. In studies conducted in Australia and New Zealand, the findings suggest that adequate, four sided pool fencing reduced drownings by 80%. Studies in Arizona demonstrated a 50% reduction.
8. Won’t fences detract from the aesthetics of pools?
A. There are several kinds of fences to choose from which meet safety requirements and there are also alternatives such as an approved safety cover.
9. Do pool owners without young children need to install protective barriers??
A. 35% of residential drownings are not at the home of the victim.
From: Debunking Summer Health Myths
As children, most of us heard lots of health advice. Unfortunately, some of it, however well-intentioned, was medically incorrect. See if you’ve ever heard – or believed – any of these common summer health myths.
“Wait a half hour after eating before you can safely go swimming.” This one seemed almost universally accepted when I was a child and is still believed today. The myth involves the possibility of suffering severe muscle cramping and drowning from swimming on a full stomach. While it’s true that the digestive process does divert the circulation of the blood toward the gut and to a certain extent, away from the muscles, the fact is that an episode of drowning caused by swimming on a full stomach has never been documented. Neither the American Academy of Pediatrics nor the American Red Cross makes any specific recommendations about waiting any amount of time after eating before taking a swim. There’s a theoretical possibility that one could develop a cramp while swimming with a full stomach, but a person swimming in a pool or controlled swimming area could easily exit the water if this happens. As with any exercise after eating, swimming right after a big meal might be uncomfortable, but it won’t cause you to drown.
From : On Scene- SCENE -The Journal of U. S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue (Fall 2006)
Characteristics of the Instinctive Drowning Response:
1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary, or overlaid, function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. h e mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.