Drowning: The Unnoticed EmergencyWhen there’s a pool full of fun, it can be easy to think that everything will be just fine. It’s important to stay on guard around any body of water – especially if there are people in the pool who are not strong swimmers. Drowning can be an unnoticed situation. It is silent and can often look like swimming instead of panic or drama. Know the body language of a water emergency so that you can quickly lend a hand.
The Body Language of DrowningHere are some common body cues that can signal that an emergency is taking place.
- Body: Often, when someone is struggling to save themselves from drowning, their body will be in an upright position. Instead of extended arms that are swimming in long strokes, people who are drowning tend to panic. Their body goes into survival mode, focusing on getting that next breath of air. It may look like they are swimming, but they often won’t be making headway to get anywhere.
- Hands: As panic sets in, hands try to doggie paddle or grasp the top of the water. For children and adults alike, this may look like they are trying to swim up while climbing a ladder. If this lasts longer than a few seconds, don’t be afraid to jump in, or have someone close by rescue the swimmer.
- Mouth: Another sign of drowning is a mouth that is right above the water line. The swimmer’s mouth may be silently gasping or breathing hard. Their mouth will go above and below the water, attempting to get another breath of air.
- Head: When a person is trying to take a breath of air above the water, they will tilt their head back before going under. The head will be low in the water. If you see only the nose and mouth out of the water, and the head tilted back, it’s time for quick intervention.
- Eyes: Keep an eye out for issues with your swimmer’s eyes. Eyes that seem unfocused or glazed over are another sign of drowning. So are eyes that are closed.
- Hair: Lastly, hair over the eyes or forehead can be a final sign of distress. If you see any of these signals, act quickly to save your loved one.