Cincinnati Family Magazine

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February 3, 2023

Safe in the Water? Know the Warning Signs

If a child is in trouble in the water, he’s more likely to be quiet than hollering for help. Learn how to recognize the warning signs.

When it comes to children in bodies of water, splashing and horsing around is almost always a GOOD sign. It’s the silent head-just-above-the-water kids you need to keep an eye on.

Drowning’s not the violent, splashing call for help that most parents expect. According to the CDC, the number 2 cause of accidental death in children ages 15 and under (just behind automobile accidents) doesn’t actually involve splashing, waving or yelling of any kind — in fact, if a child is yelling for help, it’s actually a good sign.

Sometimes the most common indication that a child is drowning is that that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may look like they’re treading water or just looking up at your deck.  If you’re uncertain if a child’s OK or not, ask him. If he can answer at all, he’s probably OK. But if he returns a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to him.

Adults should always provide keen supervision to children swimming in any body of water, and they should know what to look for in the event of an accident:

How to Know if a Child May Be Drowning

•    Head low in the water, mouth at water level
•    Head tilted back with mouth open
•    Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
•    Eyes closed
•    Hair over forehead or eyes
•    Not using legs—vertical
•    Hyperventilating or gasping
•    Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
•    Trying to roll over on the back
•    Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder





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