Mummy Buzz


What Drowning Actually Looks Like

It's Not What You Might Think....

Would you notice if someone was drowning just a few feet away from you? You'd like to think so. But many of us would not. When someone is truly in trouble, they do not look at all like the flailing actors on TV.

With swimming season upon us, it's vitally important that we recognize and react to the signs. After all, it's the second cause of death in children, second only to car accidents. And with every death, there are countless other close calls.  

An article in Slate aims to educate us all in the FAQs of drowning. What's know as The Instinctive Drowning Response, a term coined by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D. to describe the real actions involved in drowning, involves "very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind." 

Then how can you tell if someone is actually in trouble, you ask. These are the telltale signs you need to watch for, according to Slate:

  • 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

In other words, if it looks like someone is fine and treading water, don't be complacent. Ask them. If they can readily answer, then they're probably fine. If not, you may have very little time to get to them.

The Red Cross estimates that 500 kids drown every year in Canada, many languishing in mere centimetres of water. That's 500 too many. Let's open our eyes. Get more water safety tips here.