MISCONCEPTIONS OF DROWNING
With the warm weather quickly approaching, many families will head to the pools, lakes and oceans. Would you know if your child was drowning if you're sitting right there next to the pool? The Y tackles the common misconceptions on what drowning actually looks like and what many think it looks like.
Experts say a lot of times there's no screaming, no flailing. Someone can slip silently into the water. That's why they say you can't rely on your ears to alert you. It can happen in a matter of seconds. "Someone who's really drowning cannot call out and say 'Help I'm drowning.' They're not going to be able to call out to you; they're concentrated on getting air," says fellow YMCA Swim Director, Becky Whiting (YMCA of Dane County).
Their body goes from horizontal in the water to vertical. They may be able to splash with their arms, with their head tipped back, bobbing below the water line. Those signs are only there if they became distressed while swimming. In other instances there would be no signs at all. "They may be at the bottom of the pool actually, if they had some kind of incident, and they passed out."
So experts say just being in the area, reading a book or on a tablet won't cut it. You need to be looking and listening at all times when your children are in the water. Actively supervising, actively watching them, not turning your back on them because things can happen so quickly." Whiting says lifeguards are essential, but you can't count on them to do it all. "Moms always think 'oh the guard is watching,' but we need your help to watch your kids and make it extra safe."
The YMCA rule taught in swim lessons is, 'Reach or throw -- don't go!' You don't want to go in the water by them because if they're actually drowning they could grab onto you if they feel someone next to them because they're panicking, and then you're both in trouble.
The Hopkins County Family YMCA is revamping our current swim lesson structure to include more Safety Around Water topics, including Reach, Throw, Don't Go; Pool Rules, Call 911 and CPR. Our next session is Spring I beginning Tuesday, March 1st.