Summer Safety: Pools, life jackets, and what drowning REALLY looks like

1. You can drown hours after swimming. It’s called Secondary Drowning, and occurs when fluid gets into the lungs. Every person who is rescued from water should be taken to a hospital- even if they appear to be fine.

2. There is no reason to be out in open water without a life jacket: you can borrow one through Life Jacket Loaner programs.

3. Drowning doesn’t look like drowning. This excellent article by maritime safety expert Mario Vittone explains how so many people drown in plain sight.

Real signs of drowning:

  • Head is low in the water, mouth at water level; OR the head is tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and unable to focus; or closed
  • Legs are vertical
  • Appear to be trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

4. Swim lessons are one of the best ways to keep your family safe. The family blog Red Tricycle has a comprehensive list of swimming lessons and pools around Seattle, Washington.

5. Water safety starts at home: never leave your little kid alone near water. Be aware of standing water in inflatable pools, bathtubs, even buckets: children can drown in a few inches of water, babies in as little as an inch.

In this series, I am summarizing the best summer safety information I can find. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates. Have a happy and safe summer!


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