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Silent Drowning: Tips to Prevent Drowning at the Pool

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Drowning doesn’t look like drowning in the movies. Stay Safe at the Pool this Summer. Here are 7 tips to prevent drowning at the pool all year-round.

What do you think of when you think about drowning? Flailing arms? Screaming? Lots of splashing? What if I told you that drowning doesn’t look like that? At all.

Watching as my child, who I thought could swim, sunk further down into the pool as I tried to get there. That is what drowning looks like.

A watery abyss silently stealing your child away from the safety of your arms.

Thankfully, I got there. I yanked him out of the water and sat him on the side of the pool. The look of fear in his eyes and tears welling in mine. He coughed out the water in his lungs, as best he could, and cried.

Had he gotten worse within 2 to 3 hours or developed coughing, breathing difficulties, sleepiness, or confusion, I would have sought immediate medical attention.

But he didn’t and he’s alive.

That’s all that matters.

What Should I Look For When Finding a Place for Swimming Lessons?

Around this time last year, we signed our kids up for swimming lessons. It’s not just a Summer thing. Our kids swim year round. They are familiar with the water and are basically little fish. Once a quarter the swim school holds a water safety day where they come dressed in everyday clothes and shoes. I LOVE this aspect of our swim school.

If my kids fall into a pool or a pond, the probability that they will be fully dressed and not in a bathing suit is pretty high. My older two have now participated in theses Water Safety Days twice, and our youngest son once. They enjoy these days too. The water safety skills they are learning are so important. I wish all swim classes made practicing swimming in clothes a priority. It’s not easy to swim in shoes or heavy clothing. Ask my kids.

7 Tips to Prevent Drowning at the Pool

Summer is a popular time to make memories at the pool or local water park. Here are some tips to help you and your family stay safe!

Know the Exact Address

Know where you are swimming. If it’s someone’s house, write it down. A neighborhood pool? Write it down. The Beach? A hotel swimming pool? Enter it into your phone. If you have to call 9-1-1, you need to be able to give them the exact address so they can respond and get to you quickly. Don’t hope that someone else will be able to provide that information. Be proactive and be prepared. Hopefully, you won’t need it.

Bring your cell phone.

It’s not just for taking pictures. I know that I’ve left my cell in the room, in the car, wherever, because I didn’t think I would need it. But if we’re walking on the beach and one of my children gets pulled into the current, I wouldn’t have any way to call for help. That scares me. Water and smartphones don’t mix. I know. That’s why there are {affiliate links following} waterproof cases!

Keep a First Aid Kit with you.

We have a First Aid Kit in our car with bandages, gauze, tape, ointment, Motrin, Tylenol, dye-free Benadryl, and sunscreen. I also keep a small bag in our diaper bag with bandages, tweezers, essential oils, and Lavaderm. Have a one-way valve CPR mouth barrier would also be a great idea. I’ve also seen these that go on your key chain.

Don’t Use Swim Safety Floatation Devices

There is a time and a place for life jackets and puddle jumpers.

But you don’t want your child to become dependent on those devices. They are there to be an aid. If your child is never in the water unless they are in one of these devices, then what happens when they fall in without one? They are so accustomed to just floating along, they will panic.

I’ve also seen parents use them as an excuse to not watch their child.

Always have an adult watching the water.

ALWAYS. Let me repeat.

ALWAYS have a designated person watching the water. Remember in elementary school when we would have relays and pass a baton? When it was the next persons’ time to run, they got the baton. As soon as the baton was in their grip, they took off.

It may sound a bit silly, but have something that the person must hold. If they have to go to the bathroom or make a phone call, they pass off that object so that the other person knows it’s their turn to watch.

This takes out the “But I thought you were watching them” scenario when everyone is standing by the pool.

Be aware.

Remember that real drowning doesn’t look like what they portray on television. There won’t be splashing around. There won’t be yelling or screaming. It will happen silently.

Recently, my Mom came to visit and she was telling me about a time when we were swimming in my Grandpa’s pool. She and my Grandpa were sitting on the edge of the pool talking when she noticed that I was just floating in the water. No flailing of my arms or legs. No gasps for breath. Just me silently floating on my stomach with my face in the water. But I wasn’t coming up for air. I wasn’t rolling over. I guess it finally clicked and someone got me out of the water.

It didn’t look like the movies though.

Don’t forget about Secondary Drowning and Dry Drowning. While not common, they still happen.

Learn CPR.

I’ve taken the classes, but I failed to take the refresher courses. I almost think it would be better for hospitals to make parents take a CPR class rather than watch the Purple video about shaken baby syndrome.

CPR shouldn’t be something we have to think about. We should be familiar enough with it that it becomes second nature. The Red Cross offers CPR classes as do other organizations. I encourage you to sign up. You never know when you might need that skill.

Water doesn’t have to be scary. We do need to be aware of our surroundings and make sure gates are locked and the locks work. Don’t assume that someone else will take care of it for you. Be pro-active.

Water Safety Resources


What tips do you have to prevent drowning at the pool?

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