Everyone thinks they know what drowning looks like: someone shouting and yelling while flailing their arms. Unfortunately, that only happens in movies. In real life, drowning is actually silent. That’s why it’s deadly. That’s why it happens even in the company of others.
Or under the watch of a preoccupied adult. If you want to keep your child safe every time they use your backyard pool, you need to watch out for these quiet signs of drowning:
Their heads bob up and down the water
This movement happens because the drowning kid tries to gasp for air. Unfortunately, the time spent above the surface of the water isn’t long enough to speak up and ask for help, let alone shout. By the time they could exhale and let words out, they’re already slipping under the water.
Remember, breathing has to happen first before speech. It’s also worth noting that your child may not have the energy anymore to talk. They could barely keep the air in the lungs, so the body will instinctively prioritize this function over speaking up.
So when you keep watch over swimming kids, pay attention to heads sinking below and reappearing above the water. Better yet, prevent drowning in the first place. Prioritize regular maintenance and check for faulty drains or water pump.
Keep children out while there’s pool repair done by Keller, TX-based professionals when they install a fence with a safety latch.
Their arms extend to the side
Contrary to what most people think, a drowning victim won’t be able to prop their arms up high to wave for help. Instead, they’ll instinctively hold them out laterally and ‘press down’ the water to keep their body up. This again happens so they can breathe.
This is also why professional swimmers recommend that you reach a struggling kid from land whenever possible, say at the edge of the swimming pool, rather than in the water. Especially when you’re not that skilled in swimming.
There’s a good chance that when you join them in the water, the child will naturally grab on to you hard and unintentionally push you down the surface, ‘use’ you as a platform to prop themselves up and catch their breath.
In case your child is in the middle of the pool and you have no way of reaching them from the edge, throw some floaters like a life jacket, those small inflatable boats, or just anything stable that they can grab on to.
Normally, kids who are playing in the water are loud. There’s laughing here, splashing there, and lots and lots of giggles all throughout. So when a child suddenly goes quiet, that’s a good reason to be alarmed that there’s something wrong.
If they’re just looking up at the sky or towards the garden, and not responding when you ask them how they are, you should be able to get them out of the water fast and take them to the hospital, if necessary. Do note that drowning victims tend to have glassy eyes, too.
Or sometimes, their eyes are just closed, so they really will stay silent when you approach them.
The Quiet Case of Drowning
Again, drowning rarely looks like how you see it in movies. There’s no drama in it. Just silence. Make sure to keep watch over these signs. Remember, it only takes seconds to lose a life in the water.