Tip #6: Know What Drowning Looks Like
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14. As we wait for summer to make an appearance, now is the time to start thinking about swimming and water safety.
It is very important to know what drowning looks like. Most people are not aware that the majority of victims never call for help. A distressed swimmer is able to call for help for only a short amount of time. If they are not rescued quickly, they turn into an active drowning victim.
When a victim begins to drown, the instinctive drowning response takes over and they are not able to control their movements. The instinct causes them to focus only on breathing.
Here are the signs of drowning:
- The head tilts back and the body is vertical.
- They are facing shore if in a lake or river.
- There is no use of legs for forward movement
- The arms are out to the side pressing down.
- There may be a ladder climbing motion, hands out of the water or may be lightly breaking the surface.
- The head will fall below the surface and the victim will begin to inhale water.
- There is a wide eyed, panicked expression on their face.
Drowning doesn’t happen like we see it in the movies. It is often silent, with very little motion or commotion. If you are not sure if a person is in trouble, just ask. If they can answer, they probably are not in trouble. If the person offers you a blank stare, it is time for action.
Learn more about the Kenosha YMCA’s swim programs or water safety initiatives.
The Kenosha Safety Around Water Coalition meets monthly and works together to raise awareness around issues of water safety. Our mission is to create a culture of healthy respect and safe enjoyment of water in the Kenosha area through education and advocacy. Our current focus is Lake Michigan Safety. Our goal is to change the culture by educating students, parents and the general community that jumping from the pier and swimming in Pike River and Pike Creek is dangerous and life threatening. The Kenosha YMCA has hosted a monthly Safety Around Water Coalition meeting, made up of community members from all sectors, to keep the focus on raising water safety awareness year-round. Members of the coalition include representatives from the Kenosha YMCA, City of Kenosha Fire Department, City of Kenosha Police Department, City of Kenosha Aldermen, Village of Somers, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Kenosha County, Carthage College and concerned citizens.