Knowing The Signs Of Drowning Can Help Save Lives

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Knowing The Signs Of Drowning Can Help Save Lives

CREATED Jul 4, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With the 4th of July weekend upon us, many families have plans to take to the water, but before you head out, do you know the signs of drowning?

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children 15 and under.

In the past, most parents have been misinformed. Drowning may not look like what you see on TV or in the movies. Most drownings occur with adults nearby.

Ron Chlasta, Owner of Sea Star Swim School, said not recognizing the danger signs of drowning can be a parent’s biggest mistake.

“There is very rarely a splash, very rarely a cry for help [and] very rarely eye contact with supervision on a child when they slip under water,” he said. “Once the air has infiltrated the lungs and a person begins to suffocate that’s an inactive victim.”

Many statistics show most parents never get the chance to help.

In reality, drowning, in most cases, is a silent event and that’s because someone who is going under can't voluntarily control their movements and wave for help. They don’t have time to inhale and exhale long enough to speak.

“Seventy percent of drownings occur when both parents are present on the site,” he said.

So what signs do you need to look for to prevent drowning? 

Experts said look for their head to be tilted back with an open mouth, hair over the forehead or eyes, if their mouth is at water level, or if they're hyperventilating or gasping.

“When somebody's eyes are as large as saucers and the water is covering their nose you know that they’re probably in a heap of trouble,” said Chlasta.

Anyone out on the water this weekend has been urged to wear a life vest even if you know how to swim.

So far, four people have drowned in Davidson County this year in lakes and rivers.