Drowning: Preventive measures to bear in mind

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Drowning is the leading cause of death among young children. It is vital that young children are supervised always when near bodies of water such as rivers or lakes as well as in swimming pools.

What are the warning signs of drowning?

It is important to note that these indications might signal that a child or adult is at risk for drowning:

  • Head is low in the water with the mouth at water level
  • Closed eyes
  • Head is slanted backwards with an open mouth
    Homes with swimming pools must be enclosed by a fence that prevents children from getting into the pool from the house.
  • Eyes appear glassy or empty or could not to focus
  • Hair covering the eyes or forehead
  • Not using the legs (vertical)
  • Gasping or hyperventilating
  • Attempting to roll over on the back
  • Attempting to swim but moving
  • Appears to be climbing an unseen ladder

Among infants and children up to 4 years of age, they should not be left alone even for a moment while in or near pools, bathtubs, spas or wading pools. For children at this age, “touch supervision” must be observed in which an adult must be within an arm’s length of the child with full focus on the child always.

Safety in home swimming pools

Homes with swimming pools must be enclosed by a fence that prevents children from getting into the pool from the house. It is recommended to install a 4-sided fence at least 4-foot high, non-climbable with a self-closing and latching gate. In addition, parents and caregivers must learn CPR and keep safety equipment such as life preservers or jackets at the poolside.

Children with special needs

Young children with intellectual disability and those with seizure disorders are at risk for drowning, but all children are in danger if left unsupervised in or close to water.

Remember that even a child who knows how to swim might drown a few feet from safety. It is vital that children should always be supervised.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on drowning is for learning purposes only. Learn to deal with environmental emergencies including drowning preventive measures by taking a standard first aid course with Mississauga First Aid.

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