A Personal Cautionary Tale about Drowning

Swimming and water activities are some of the most popular summer activities enjoyed by people of all ages. The water is one of the best ways to cool off on a hot summer day. But, whether you are home, in a public pool or at the beach we all need to be aware of water safety. About 8 years ago while on vacation, two of my cousins drowned in a hotel swimming pool. They were both adult males’, a father and son goofing off, having fun with other family members in the pool. The day instantly turned tragic when the son slipped under the water. While attempting to rescue his son, the father too became a victim of the tragedy. Everything happened so fast, there was nothing that could be done to save them, and no life guard on duty. When I first heard this news, I just couldn’t believe what had happened. Thinking of the physical build of my cousins, I never imagined something like this happening. In most cases when hearing of avoidable casualties like this, you usually hear of it happening to young children. But my story shows that drowning doesn’t discriminate. Since this incident, I am much more cautious in the water. Sometimes I am so cautious that I can’t even enjoy myself. Most people don’t think about the importance of keeping safe until they are personally affected. I hope that sharing my personal story along with these water safety tips will make others more aware of the importance and prevention of other incidents like this from happening. These water safety tips came be used in various swimming environments. So before heading out into the water, take the time to go over them with your family to ensure everyone is safe.

  • Learn How To Swim

Knowing how to swim is extremely important when it comes to water safety. It can not only save your life but you can save the life of someone else.  The Red Cross offers swimming lessons, water safety classes as well as first aid and CPR for people of all ages. Swimming lessons not only teach you how to swim but you also learn how to float – a valuable life-saving technique to use in the water.

  • Stay in Designated Areas

When in a public pool or at the beach, swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. Know your limits; don’t go in water that’s so deep you can’t touch the bottom.  It is also important that you have a swim buddy, never swim alone.

  • Never leave a young child unattended in the water or in the care of another child.
  • Wear a life jacket and make sure that it is sized appropriately.
  • Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Avoid drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
  • Protect your skin and limit the amount of direct sunlight. Be sure to put on sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.

The Signs of Drowning Drowning is the most common cause of water death. It usually happens quickly and silently. It is the second-most common cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14, and the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages. Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid.  When most people are drowning they are unable to alert others. When a person is drowning his or her mouth sinks below and reappears above the surface of the water. There isn’t time to exhale, inhale, and call out. It usually takes a drowning person up to a minute before they go completely under water. The most important indicator that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they are actually drowning. You can call out to the person; if they respond they are probably ok, if no response, immediately try to get the person out the water.
Click here for more tips and additional information.

This post submitted by Communications Volunteer Jennifer Ingram.

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