During the summer months families are out enjoying pools, lakes, and beaches. It’s an especially important time of year for parents to be up to date on first aid practices. It may not be a requirement, but it’s strongly suggested that all parents take the time to invest in first aid and CPR courses. Here’s a few danger signs to look out for when your kids are in the water, plus a few tips to help you react.
What to be on the lookout for
We expect people who are in serious trouble to scream for help. But people who are drowning can’t make any sounds, so they can easily go unnoticed. The following warning signs may signal a child or adult is in danger of drowning:
- Attempting to swim in a certain direction but not making headway
- Attempting to roll over on their back.
- Head is low in the water and their mouth is at water level.
- Mouth is open with their head tilted back.
- Eyes are glassy, not able to focus, and empty.
- Eyes are closed.
- Hair is covering eyes or forehead.
- Gasping or hyperventilating.
What to do in case of an emergency
Whether you’ve taken a first aid course or not, there’s a few basic steps you should always take if you child is struggling in the water.
- Get the casualty out of the water immediately, and check if they’re breathing or not.
- If someone else is present, ask him/her to call 911 for medical help
- If the person is unresponsive and not breathing, give them five initial rescue breaths before starting CPR.
- Begin CPR. This is where training comes in handy. First aid and CPR training is available through many different safety programs and at most community and recreation centres. Even if you never have to use it, it’s worth the peace of mind – especially as a parent.
- If you’re on your own, give CPR for one minute before you call 911 for emergency help.
- Once the casualty starts breathing again, treat them for hypothermia by covering them with warm clothes and blankets, and replace wet clothes with dry ones after recovery.
- Check breathing, level of consciousness and pulse continuously until help arrives.
Ideally you never have to experience the panic of a water or drowning emergency. But keeping yourself up to date on safety training and knowing the basics could be the life-saving factor in an unexpected situation. Just knowing you know what steps to take should make your time in the water with your family much more enjoyable.