Drowning doesn’t look like TV drowning: Signs you need to know!

My husband sent me this article last week about what real drowning looks like – and it’s not how it appears on TV or in movies.

I wanted to make sure that all mothers and fathers saw it to make us more aware and vigilant this summer as our kids frolic in pools and the ocean. (Email this blog to your mom friends and post it on Facebook. Reading it could save a child’s life. Here is the article in Spanish!)

Mario Vittone has nineteen years of military service in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.  His writing on maritime safety has appeared in Yachting, Salt Water Sportsman, On Scene, Lifelines, and at the Naval Safety Center’s Online Resource Site. This article is taken from his blog and it describes what is called The Instinctive Drowning Response.

Parents need to understand, according to Vittone, that drowning is deceptively quiet event! There is generally no waving, splashing or yelling that you see on TV or in movies. He reports that “unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”

Vittone says: “And parents – children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.”

Please click on the link and read the whole blog! Here are some important excerpts:

“The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:”

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

(Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006 (page 14))”

Vittone also lists these other signs of drowning:

“Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.”

Sorry to be such a downer for a Monday but I just wanted to make sure parents read this before heading out to the pool today or later this week. Vittone has lots more on water safety on is blog so check it out.

My newshound husband just sent me more links to share about drowning:

The first story is about the four stages of drowning.

This one is the tragic stories of how quickly kids can drown and how easily they can get to a supposedly safe pool.

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania. Follow me on Twitter and read what I am reading each day. Great stories on family health, family fun, parenting,  fashion, stars, and more. Click on the right-hand column to check out links to stories that will interest you. )

51 comments Add your comment

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

June 6th, 2011
6:10 am

That was very frightening to read but good information to know. Thanks!

1sus

June 6th, 2011
7:03 am

This is why I’m always so stressed trying to watch my son at the pool. His general swimming still resembles some of the descriptions (rolls to back, head tilted back). Gonna have to make that stubborn little sucker take more swimming lessons!

new mom

June 6th, 2011
7:04 am

Thanks for posting this, Theresa. I shared it on fb and will spread the word today as we start swimming lessons. I had read this before but it’s certainly worth repeating.

TallMom

June 6th, 2011
8:25 am

There’s another blog I read yesterday by a gentleman who recounts his nephew’s daughter’s drowning. She was 3 yrs old and it happened so unbelievably fast. her parents overheard the ER doctor say a child that age can drown in 18 seconds. EIGHTEEN SECONDS. That can be the amount of time it takes for you to realize your child is not in your line of sight and to start looking for them.

Young@Heart

June 6th, 2011
8:46 am

I about drowned when I was 5 years old at our neighborhood swimming pool, my mom was laying in the sun and I was doing a ballerina twirl in the water when the next thing I know I slipped down the slope to the deep end and didn’t come back up! I remember trying to scream under the water and exactly like they say climb a ladder but I couldn’t get above the water….then all the sudden I bumped into a man & he yanked me up by 1 arm and yelled….:who’s kid is this she’s not breathing”….its like an out of body experience….My mom was on the side of the pool yelling…”get her, get her”….I make sure to keep a very close eye on my boys and other kids when I’m near the water.

Kat

June 6th, 2011
9:04 am

This is a great post, and important. Drowning is a silent killer. I would just add that many times when a child drowns, you hear the adults present say they thought the child was with someone else. All the kids in my family have grown up with access to an in-ground pool at their grandparents’ house. Since they were tiny, I’ve realized that there is more danger to kids when there are a lot of people around a pool. Everyone thinks someone else is watching the kids. I have made it a point, when I have to turn away from my kids even for a moment, to make eye contact with another adult, make sure I have their full attention, and ask them to watch the kids until I get back. Never, ever assume that becasue there are a lot of adults around, that anyone else is watching the kids.

Kat

June 6th, 2011
9:07 am

We also have a lock on the door that gives access to the pool area. The lock is out of reach of the youngest kids, and opens only with a key. That way if we all go inside at the same time to eat or whatever, none of the little ones can slip back outside without us knowing.

Lady Strange

June 6th, 2011
9:13 am

This is a personal fear for me; I almost drowned as a young teenager at a water park. The lifeguard stood there and watched me and kept asking me if I was OK….. Well no I wasn’t OK but he finally got me out. Looking back I don’t think he wasn’t very well trained to wait that long to see if I was OK.

Even today I hate the water (I was never a big fan of water to start with). I much prefer to fish than swim. My son, however, loves the water and I know his dad takes him swimming a lot since his apartment complex has a pool.

Brenda

June 6th, 2011
9:54 am

I came very close to drowning at the beach in NJ. I was exhausted from trying to “climb that ladder”. I remember a feeling of peace coming over me as I realized that I couldn’t hold my breath any longer. At that second, the life guard grabbed me. That was 40 years ago and I have not been in the water past my knees since. It’s frightening!

I want to smell like toilet paper

June 6th, 2011
9:56 am

I’m drowning in paper work here…..Thanks for the article.

Brenda

June 6th, 2011
10:04 am

Another point I’d like to make….don’t leave your children to be supervised by adults that cannot swim. That is a disaster waiting to happen.

Lucky Dad

June 6th, 2011
10:07 am

It happened to me 4 years ago! I was out by the pool and my 3 year old daughter was on a raft in the shallow end. My 5 year old son who swims pushed her raft to the deep end. I was on the phone and I did not hear a thing. I turned around and saw my daughter bobbing up and down in the pool. Oddly, she looked so calm and peaceful as her eyes never rose above the water. I screamed, “Lauren!” I dropped the phone and dove in the pool with all my clothes on and had her above water with in seconds. She is perfectly fine now, but another 10 seconds could have been life changing. It happens so fast! PLEASE watch your kids at ALL TIMES!!!

Jim Franklin

June 6th, 2011
10:20 am

Just this weekend near Toronto where I am from, a toddler drowned in a backyard pool due to a couple of minutes of inattentiveness. Very very sad story. Do not take your eyes off of your children for a second around water. Make it so that young kids do not have access to the pool if you can’t be with them. Teach children to swim and respect the water at a young age. Imagine the grief these parents will carry the rest of their lives.

Jim

Cindy

June 6th, 2011
10:29 am

We are mean parents. We don’t allow our children to swim at all without us being near or a most trusted family member who swims. For my eleven year old, that is a tragedy as far as he is concerned. For us, it is tragedy prevention. But I see how other adults “watch” their own kids, so I won’t trust them with mine. Great article. Thanks for posting. And never apologize for posting about safety!!

Sam

June 6th, 2011
10:31 am

Even better than watching your children, teach them how to swim and tread water. It’s a very easy series of movements, especially stationary floating with your head above water. Once again, very easy to execute. Meanwhile, the catatonic lady is scared of water for 40 years? Her loss. Muy lamo!

new mom

June 6th, 2011
10:44 am

Thanks again Theresa–and I would recommend that everyone share this article with others you know, even if they aren’t parents. You never know if you will be at a pool and spot someone exibiting these signs. Bye–and ironically, off to our first day of swimming lessons!

homeschooler

June 6th, 2011
11:34 am

And don’t think that the lifeguard is adequate supervision. He or she is not a babysitter but there to assist in case of a near drowning and to be an overall supervisor. His/her eyes can not be everywhere at once just like your’s can’t. You have to keep your eyes on YOUR kids at all times.
We all have horror stories. I was talking with a friend and my child (three at the time) was in a tube right behind me. She slipped out of the tube and another friend noticed her and pulled her up from under the water. My daughter still reminds me. “I almost drowned and you weren’t watching”.
I work in a job that (unfortunately) has put me in a posistion to see hospitalized and deceased children of drownings and their grief stricken (otherwise consciencious) parents. No one should have to go through that.
There is no such thing as being too careful around water.
Thanks for the article.

Denise

June 6th, 2011
11:47 am

I sent this article to my brother’s girlfriend and she scared me half to death about an experience she and my oldest nephew had yesterday. They were on a raft in the ocean and the current pulled them into deeper water and they had to scream for help. The current was too strong for them to paddle their way back to shore with the raft. Sure they can swim but a lot of folks can’t swim “defensively” (think defensive driving). During swimming lessons you’re not taught how to swim in a current and that was the situation they found themselves in. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re safe just because you “can swim”, and that goes double for children.

MomsRule

June 6th, 2011
11:48 am

Thank you TWG – this is great information.

Tad Jackson

June 6th, 2011
11:49 am

This information is so important, as horrifying as the consequences could be. Never, ever take your eyes off of swimming children, especially when they’re beating each other on the head with those noodle things.

Anyhow, I taught at a school where the teachers were required to attend CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) training on an off day … a Saturday … and where you were proudly issued a wallet-sized card certifying your training. A proud moment, sure, but I hope I never have to use what I learned. If I do, a nerdy teacher, I’ll know exactly what to do.

http://www.adixiediary.com

catlady

June 6th, 2011
12:25 pm

Thank you, Theresa, for posting this! I have seen too many unsupervised kids on playgrounds, in the pool, etc. You may have saved a life today! Can the link for it be put on the FRONT PAGE of the AJC online?!

When I was about 8, I got caught by an undertow at Longboat Key (back when it was miles and miles of deserted beach–can you imagine!) My mom and dad were on the beach, and did not realize I was in trouble. Luckily I swam parallel to the shoreline (accidentally, I am sure) and was able to get out. My folks fussed at me for swimming so far down the shore, until I described what had happened. I was fortunate because living in Florida in the 1950s, swimming was taught ever summer through the schools. I see too many kids and adults who don’t know how to swim; in fact, who are terrified of water.

Thank you again for sharing this.

shaggy

June 6th, 2011
12:35 pm

Good post Theresa.
I am not kidding about this. You moms and dads also need to be watching out for small containers of any kind of liquid. I have an acquaintance that had to do some car radiator work and drained their anti-freeze into a 5 gallon bucket. Not paying attention and working on the car, he didn’t notice when his 2 year old boy fell into that bucket of anti-freeze and drowned. Horrible to see the mark left on that family. It literally broke them apart. Older sister went with mom, and dad climbed into the bottom of a bottle…as far as I know, he is still living there 10 years later…barely.
Beware and pay attention.

Lifeguard

June 6th, 2011
12:44 pm

Was a lifeguard and it is amazing how many people jump in a pool without knowing how to swim.

Lifeguard

June 6th, 2011
12:46 pm

Oh yeah, when asked why they did it…they basically indicated they would figure it out (swimming). They took that saying “sink or swim” literally.

Stacey

June 6th, 2011
1:14 pm

I have been terrified of water for as long as I can remember. I took swimming lessons as a teen in hopes of overcoming my fear but it didn’t help. When I was 15 I was at a family reunion and was sitting in a chair beside the pool when my adult cousin picked me up and threw me in the pool. Luckily, a teenage cousin saw immediately that I was terrified and managed to help me out of the water. Most of the adults, including my mother, thought it was funny and teased me for being dramatic but that memory still upsets me 25 years later. To this day, I will not sit around a pool and when I go to the beach the water can’t be more than 1/2 way to my knees.

My husband is a strong swimmer and my son is a beginner. He is only allowed to swim in pools and then only if they are not too crowded and my husband is in the water.

Wow!

June 6th, 2011
1:14 pm

so……you need an article to tell you that head back, glassy eyes, mouth open (under water!) are all signs of drowning? wow!

j

June 6th, 2011
1:16 pm

One of my worst nightmares is one in which i see my 4 yr old son drowning and i can’t get to him no matter how hard i try. This is why when we go to the pool, my attention is stirctly on him, even i do seem like i’m being rude to others by not actively engaging myself in conversation. He was at the pool the other day and i caught a little girl trying to push his head below water. I had taken my eyes off him for 4 seconds b/c he was in the shallow end on the steps. You can bet i scolded that parent’s daughter for doing what she did. My son was crying b/c he was helpless as she was pushing his head under. ALWAYS WATCH YOUR KIDS WHEN WATER IS AROUND!!!

Razz

June 6th, 2011
1:23 pm

When I was about 9 I took swimming lessons. The first day they literally threw us in the deep end and told us to swim to the instructor waiting on the other side…I have been terrified of the water ever since. I will make sure my children take swimming lessons from day one, I never want them to be scared of the water as I am.

HB

June 6th, 2011
1:25 pm

Thanks for that reminder, shaggy. Top-heavy toddlers can very quickly fall head-hirst into 5-gallon buckets and can’t pull themselves out. That happened a couple of times (10+ years apart) in the area where I grew up. It just didn’t cross the parents’ minds that half-filled buckets could be so dangerous.

Brenda

June 6th, 2011
1:27 pm

Sam….do you actually know that people are afraid of many things after facing death. People who are bitten by poison snakes develop a fear of snakes that lasts throughout their lives. Nothing unusual there. However, I will admit… nothing scares me more than your kind. Muy Lamo!

Stacey

June 6th, 2011
1:28 pm

@Shaggy…We were watching the movie “Ray” yesterday and the kids were laughing at the scene where Ray’s little brother fell into a bucket of water and drowned. My teenage nieces didn’t think it was funny but did think it was unrealistic that a child (i’m guessing he was 3 or 4)could drown in so little water.

@Lifeguard…My mother said that the way everyone in her family learned to swim is they were thrown in the pond and told the either figure out how to swim or drown. That’s why it was so funny to them when I was thrown in the pool at the reunion. It was crazy to me then and is crazy to me now.

Wayne

June 6th, 2011
1:41 pm

@shaggy: I fill up buckets of water for the the equines we have and I’m paranoid about where I put them after I fill’em. Right outside – don’t leave them in the house where kids (and mine are a bit older, 7 and 4) can get at them. I had heard about this a long time ago. Even if there is only a couple of inches of water – just has to cover your mouth and nose and that’s it. Why take the chance.

Lifeguard

June 6th, 2011
1:43 pm

@ Stacey – you need a new family LOL.

jbm

June 6th, 2011
1:46 pm

I see things like this all the time. There’s a beach across from our house and there’s kids 8-16 years old there all day without any supervision at all. Sadly, a 15 year old drowned just last week and his friends thought he was playing so didn’t go in after him. I see the same kids jumping off the bridge into the lake (good 20 ft high). There’s kids riding wave runners in circles in front of our house and we’ve had several collisons as well as drownings. Just last week, an employee of mine’s two kids had a head on collision and his 10 year old came close to dying. The lake can be one of the scariest places to turn your kids loose. Just imagine what they’re doing on those wave runners while out of your sight. Georgia law says you have to be 13 and pass the test to drive a boat but parents are putting their children out there as young as 8 and they have no clue what the lake safety rules are.

iRun

June 6th, 2011
1:57 pm

OK, so even if your kid CAN swim that doesn’t mean they’re not at risk of drowning.

So, here’s a recent story.

Last weekend I took my son, who is almost 10 and knows how to swim, tubing on the Hooch. The water was slow moving, deep in places, and 50F.

Within about 10 minutes of getting on our tubes he flips off.

He had a life vest on, one of those orange ones that just go around the neck with a strap around the waist. The belt, however, had a faulty loop where you tighten it and IMMEDIATELY the life vest floated up around his head and it and the strap impeded my son’s ability to move his arms.

He kept trying to get back on the tube but because the water was over his head all he did was flip it over and over. The water was 50F. Very, very quickly, in less than a minute he started to panic.

I was about 10 feet away so I hopped off my tube, swam over, grabbed him and his tube in a rear active assist (I was a trained lifeguard in college), and brought him to the shore. Once there I swapped out his faulty vest for my working one, put him back on his tube, and told him to be careful about falling off again. Then I swam to my tube, swam back to shore, and got back on.

Once I was back on I warned him and the other boys that if they fell off, to remain calm despite the cold, grab their tube by the handle and swim to shore so they could get back on. Because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get to any or all of them in time. Note that I wasn’t the only adult but we were at a ratio of 2 boys:1 adult.

Sure enough, each boy fell of a few times but they remembered my instructions, except for one, who panicked and I had to re-enact my assistance.

The very real scare we had with my son was mostly the result of the faulty vest hindering his movement and the VERY cold water. Even if he’d not had a vest at all I think the cold water would have made it difficult for him to rescue himself once he grew tired after not being able to get back on his tube. The moment he started to panic I could see him start to go into that automatic drowning response and FORGET his knowledge of swimming.

So it’s VERY important you don’t put too much faith in your kid’s ability to swim. I have to say that lifeguard training did a LOT for me with regards to staying calm. I believe I will have my son take a course when he’s old enough.

BTW, the very day after our trip was the day that little girl, close in age to my son, drowned. And she was wearing a vest at some point.

Be very vigilant.

catlady

June 6th, 2011
2:32 pm

I see there is a link on the homepage. Thank you!

When my kids took swimming lessons (age 3 and up) at the end of the first, and every lesson, they dropped the kid off the diving board into the arms of another instructor (more or less) who pushed them toward the side. Absolutely terrifying for the child, but in 3-4 days, no more fear. Working with kids while they are young and having parents that swim are the best predictors of success.

While there I saw two adolescent boys, ages 12-13 I think, having their first swimming lesson. Their father was terrified of the water, and their mother NEVER WENT SWIMMING, and you cannot imagine the sand those boys kicked up in being exposed to what the 3 year olds were doing! I don’t think they ever came back after the first day, which reinforced their fears. I kept telling my scared almost-4 year old “it will get easier” and it did. (It didn’t help that these big boys were screaming and crying and gluing themselves to the instructors, however.) By day 4 she was into it, and by the last day (day 10) she was a fish!

Lemon Flavored Scabs

June 6th, 2011
2:46 pm

I never drowneded a TV before.

motherjanegoose

June 6th, 2011
3:53 pm

Good points all. Both of our kids took lessons when they were very small and I have kept and eagle eye out for them while at the pool and beach. When we were in St. Augustine, a few weeks ago, the girls were floating our with their boogie boards. I thought they were kind of far but my husband says, “they have been in college all year…” They came back and were scared to death as they went out further than they thought. Luckily they had their boogie boards with them and know how to swim. It do not understand parents who are reading a book with their little kids in the water. Not me!

motherjanegoose

June 6th, 2011
3:59 pm

sorry for the typos….my brain is too hot :0

Beck

June 6th, 2011
5:07 pm

Shaggy & HB, thank you for mentioning the bucket issue; you brought back a memory.

When I was about 12 one of my friends lost her much younger brother (3 or 4) to a freak accident by the side of the lake in the back of their house. He fell in, in a VERY shallow area, but because of that big-headed toddler issue couldn’t get his head out. They found him right at the edge of the lake in literally a few inches of water.

mary jones

June 6th, 2011
7:03 pm

When my children were 1, 3, and 5, I went to a neighborhood pool with a friend of mind. At some point, my 3 year old decided he needed to go the bathroom. We lived in a very active swimming community so I was confident my son was capable of swimming without my being in the water with him. I asked my girlfriend, whose two children were sitting beside her, would she watch my older son while I assisted my younger son in the bathroom. As soon as I helped my younger son get to the toilet, some sixth sense said to me you are making a mistake leaving your 5 year old in the water with this person watching him. I made the decision to leave my son in the bathroom stall and stand in the door where I could keep an eye on the both. I will never be able to describe the horror I felt when I looked into the pool and saw my son actively drowning. I yelled to the life guard, who at first thought I was kidding. The life guard jumped into the pool and pulled my frightened son to the edge. My stupid friend was blissfully unaware of how close I had come to losing my child. I learned several lessons that day. Never never ever leave your child in water with someone you are not 100% certain will watch your child carefully. Also, just because your child is comfortable in your pool does not mean he is comfortable in all situations. My son became frightened by the distance from one side of the pool to the other because it was different from what he was familiar with. The final thing I learned is that my son’s instinct was to try to yell for mommy to save him. He was a very short distance from the edge of the pool. I practiced calmly swimming to the edge of the pool and climbing to safety instead of crying out for mom until you are too tired to swim. I cannot caution parents enough, TRUST VERY FEW adults with your child. I thought I protected my son by alerting a friend. A better choice was to always take all of your children with you when going to the bathroom

Kat

June 6th, 2011
9:00 pm

Wow, Mary – thanks for the story. It is truly an eye-opener. Your “mommy-senses” kicked in, which is wonderful.

As a child, I almost two different times. Until I saw this article (a few months ago when my brother sent it to me). It brought back my memories of those incidences, and this story is absolutely true – when you are drowning, you cannot speak much less yell for help. I remember thinking why isn’t anyone coming to help me. I “thought” I was screaming, but I wasn’t.

Kat

June 6th, 2011
9:13 pm

BTW: All parents who are afraid of swimming should strongly consider taking swimming lessons themselves. If you let your kids go swimming, and there is a problem – what are you going to do? Scream “Swim!?!” You need to learn how to do this!

Also, there is a very cool invention that I read about in Reader’s Digest the other day (month?). It is a remote-controlled life preserver that a lifeguard can direct out to a person who is drowning. It can get to a person much faster than a lifeguard, of course. Not sure how long until it gets to the market, but I expect it to be like those “heart jumping” things that you see many places. It’s just good to know that this type of innovation exists.

observer

June 6th, 2011
11:17 pm

My daughter, a certified lifeguard and fellow lifeguard, watching over a north fulton subdivision pool last summer. 2 lifeguards, one pool. They had blown the whistle numerous times to parents, note:..toddlers are toddling too close to the edge, watch your kids, kids jumping on the heads of other kids (they aren’t babysitters), please help them do their jobs by doing your jobs. My daughter, one of the two lifeguards noticed a 6-7 year old boy. His noodle flew up out of the water and he was totally still, silent, went down and then came up, she saw only his eyes and knew distress. Nothing about his demeanor showed any distress except his eyes. She immediately screamed “all out” because she couldn’t find her whistle and wasn’t concerned about protocol at that point. Her fellow lifeguard, at the other end of the pool was already there as that young boy was at the bottom of the pool at that point. All ended well but no one else in a pool full of people knew what was happening to that young boy. That fact had an impact on my daughter she will never forget.

Mario Vittone

June 7th, 2011
8:09 am

Thank you, Theresa, for posting this and for the links and to all of you for reading and sharing the article. Be safe out there.

katz

June 7th, 2011
1:35 pm

teach your kids how to survive…in the water and crossing the street

woodrow

June 7th, 2011
2:51 pm

When my kids were young, I was always in the pool next to them, watching them. When they became good swimmers, as in, they could lap the pool numerous times and swim underwater, I sat on the side. Parenting is a job to be taken seriously.

Careful Mom

June 7th, 2011
10:34 pm

As a mother of 4 sons, I knew it was imperative for them to take Red Cross swimming lessons from our public community pool as soon as they were old enough. Two of my sons, ages 6 and 7 never turned loose of the side of the pool during their first swimming course that summer. We tried again the following summer, and they were able to pass some of the requirements. During the third year of taking lessons, they finally passed that first course, and continued to take more lessons the following summers.

Remember that no one is going to watch your children in the pool like you would. Never take your eyes off of them for a second. If one child had to get out to go to the bathroom, we all got out and escorted him. We all played in the shallow end of the pool and they had rules about what they could and couldn’t do. When my older son wanted to dive off of the board, we all walked down to the deep end and sat and watched him. Over protective, yes, but no regrets!

seabeau

June 8th, 2011
9:40 am

Over the years I have saved quite a few people from drowning. As a youth I received a Boy Scout Merit Badge in Swimming.I was Red Cross Trained in Lifesaving and served several years as a lifeguard in local pools. Parents cannot be too attentive to their children even in lifeguarded pools. Lifeguards cannot watch everyone, at all times. The main killer of adults and children are in non-lifeguarded situations where no strong swimmers are available and willing to assist in rescue.

SCRFactor

June 8th, 2011
2:59 pm

Thank you so much for making me thing abou this in a different light.