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Drowning

DROWNING

THE FACTS

Apparently the old cliche is true. Statistics show that is possible to drown in less than an inch of water especially if you under the age of four. In this age group half of drownings occur in toilets and buckets. The other half occur in a bathtub or private pool.

Since 1984 more than 327 children have drowned in buckets used for mopping floors. It is estimated that approximately 30 children a year die as a result of falling into a pail or bucket.

More than ten percent of all drownings in general occur in the bathtub. In the case of children, most fatalities could be blamed on a lack of adult supervision. Regrettably, over half of all reported fatal drownings consist of children who are beneath the age of four years old.

The bottom line is that children and water just don't mix well unless supervised by a vigilant and responsible adult. Parents should also be wary of aids such as baby seats, which provide a false sense of security. Since 1983, there has been over 104 deaths and 162 non-fatal incidents involving these safety devices. Similarly, flotation devices that have suddenly deflated are to blame for many sudden deaths by drowning in both adults and children.

SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS

Drowning is sometimes referred to as "the silent killer" as people who are drowning are often not able to call out for help. This is because they are often expending all of their energy to breathe or keep their head above water.

Signs of drowning include:

* Splashing and the flailing of limbs
* Lying or floating face down in the water
* Only the head or just the mouth shows above the water line

Symptoms of drowning include:

* Abdominal distention an vomiting * A pale or bluish tinge to the skin, lips and nails * Coughing with clear or frothy pink sputum * Labored breathing or respiratory arrest * Weak heartbeat or cardiac arrest

Drowning typically begins with a panic or struggle that is followed by a submission to the situation. The victim often swallows a great deal of water before passing out. Within three minutes of being underwater, the victim loses consciousness. After five minutes underwater, the victim suffers brain damage. This signals the heart to go into an irregular rhythm and eventually stop beating.

PREVENTION

As almost half of drownings occur because of trespassers decide to take a dip in a neighbor's swimming pool it is highly recommended that you surround you residential pool with a four-sided isolation fence. Other preventative measures include gate alarms, pool alarms and pool covers that conceal the water when the pool is not in use.

Insisting that children under age 14 wear a life jacket is also a way of preventing drownings in your pool. It is estimated that 85 percent of fatal drownings could have been prevented if only the individual had been wearing a life jacket.

Flotation devices such as inflatable water wings, inner tubes and noodles are not to be used in the same way as life jackets as such devices can suddenly deflate or slip away from the child.

Children eight years and younger should always be supervised while in the bathtub. Rubber mats attached to the floor of the bathtub may prevent slips and falls that could cause potential drowning for both children and adults.

Never leave a toddler or infant unattended in the vicinity of a pail, bucket or toilet. Curious toddlers have a tendency to bend over the bucket until they fall in or are bent over to the extent that they can't raise their head out of the water. Keeping the lid of the toilet closed at all times is a good idea.

PREPARATION

Enrolling in a CPR and First Aid course will enable you to be prepared in the case of a drowning.

The following is a basic guide to reviving an unconscious infant or child.

* First determine if the victim can cry or cough
* If not give the child five blows to the back
* Compress the chest five times
* Roll the victim onto his or her side. If he or she is still not spitting up water or breathing repeat the above steps
* If the subject is still unresponsive perform CPR (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) until medical help arrives

WHAT TO DO IF THE UNFORTUNATE OCCURS

If in a public area shout for help. If the victim is in a public swimming area, throw the victim a life jacket or attempt to reach them with a long pole that they can grasp so they can be pulled into safety. Do not enter the water yourself unless absolutely necessary. Once the victim has been pulled out of the water, perform CPR and seek immediate medical attention!

 

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