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Drowning First Aid

Information About Drowning First Aid

We Have to Know about the Drowning First Aid

  • Drowning often happens quickly and quietly – there is little noise to alert parents. The majority of children who drown were last seen in the home, were in the care of one or both parents at the time, and had been out of sight for less than five minutes
  • Children under three years of age are most at risk. Most infants, (under one ear) who are victims, drown in the bath when the parent or caretaker leaves the child alone for a few minutes to answer the phone, or fetch something. The one swimming pool is where most drowning, involving children between 1 and 4, take place
  • In adults, most drowning occurs in males who are intoxicated. It often happens within a few meters of the seashore, boat or dock. Suspect trouble if the swimmer’s strokes become erratic and jerky or stop, or if the body sinks so that only the head shows above the water
  • Spinal injuries are common in diving accidents and should always be suspected
  • A child or adult who nearly drowns but has been rescued is still in danger because fluid could build up in the lungs a few hours later. This may even lead to “secondary drowning”, a fatal condition

Immediate Treatment

  • Get the person out of the water. Do not try to rescue someone if it will severely endanger your life. Rather call for help, and try to reach the person from land with a pole or rope. Tie yourself to something secure on shore if you have to swim to the person
  • Do the ABC’s. Check for foreign bodies in the airways, such as weed, but do not waste time by trying to drain swallowed water. If the person needs CPR, start immediately
  • Once on shore, place the person in the recovery position if there are no spinal injuries
  • Keep the person warm
  • If you suspect a spinal injury and CPR is not required, don’t move the person to land
  • Keep him lying face up in the water until help arrives
  • All near-drowning victims should be observed in the hospital for 24 hours

Tips to prevent Drowning

  • Always supervise children near water, even buckets of water or fish ponds – as little as five centimetres of water could pose a risk for a small child
  • Because of the disproportionate weight of their heads, toddlers can easily topple over and find it difficult to lift their heads to breathe
  • Never leave a child under four alone in the bath, even for a second. If you need to leave the room, wrap your child in a towel and take her with you
  • Pull out the plug once you are finished
  • Ensure that everyone in the family knows how to swim. Swim lessons for children under four should not be seen as a way to decrease the risk of drowning
  • Young children should always wear approved life vests (inflatable rings and water wings are not effective). Make sure that the vest fits snugly and is comfortable
  • Remember that they are only swimming aids, not life preservers
  • Fence off your pool and preferably use a pool net as well. Get a lockable cover for Jacuzzis or sunken baths
  • Remove the ladder of above-the-ground pools after use. Don’t leave toys in and around the pool when not in use as children may be tempted to retrieve them. Don’t install a diving board
  • Never allow anyone to dive head-first into pools which are less than 2.5 m deep
  • When at the beach, only swim in designated areas and if a lifeguard is on duty. Don’t stand with your back towards the water as a sudden wave could knock you over
  • If you are caught in a current, swim parallel to the shore or tread water until help arrives
  • No-one, not even adults, should swim alone or when intoxicated
  • Attend a CPR class and make sure that your child minder knows first aid and rescue methods.
Drowning First Aid
     Medical Advise for Drowning First Aid