Learn The Signs of Drowning & Water Safety Expo

I try to keep things hyper-local here on Agoura.com, but some people might want to check this out — Water Safety Expo in Santa Clarita June 8, 10am – 2pm

It’s interesting because last week I was working on a water safety post for Agoura.com but didn’t quite have a chance to finish it. My own children are relatively water safe — they can get around the pool, but they don’t have the best form in their strokes. I could see them tiring quickly if a problem arose.

It gets hot here in Agoura and many residents are lucky enough to cool off in their backyard pool while others head to the beach or to local community pools.

It is very important to remember that drowning happens quietly — you won’t see the waving and splashing around that you might expect.

According to The U.S. Coast Guard, The Instinctive Drowning Response is a person’s attempt to avoid the actual or perceived suffocation in the water. Drowning triggers automatic responses that result in instinctive drowning movements that can be recognized by trained individuals or rescue crews.

Characteristics of the Instinctive Drowning Response:
— Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. You are busy trying to take a breath if you pop out of the water, so your instinct is not to call out for help or yell. The mouth of someone drowning is not above the surface long enough to exhale, inhale AND call out for help. They try to take a quick breath before sinking again.

— Drowning people cannot wave for help because nature instinctively causes them to extend their arms down. Pressing down on the surface of the water helps drowning people leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouth out of the water to take a breath.

— The Instinctive Drowning Response will now allow for a drowning person to override the instincts. In other words, they CANNOT voluntarily control arm movements and wave for help, move toward a rescuer or reach out for a piece of rescue equipment.

— There is also no kicking. The Instinctive Drowning Response causes people’s bodies to remain upright in the water.

Without being rescued by a trained individual, a drowning person can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds.

That last bit really shocked me. I have turned to talk to a friend at the pool for more than a minute while my children played in the pool. My kids are a bit older and can make their way around the pool just fine, but there could be many reasons that a person begins to drown.

Some tips to keep kids (and adults) safe:

Supervise kids — even those that can swim — at all times.

Use the buddy system — always swim with a buddy

Learn CPR — you can save a life!

Learn the signs of drowning

Install barriers if you have a swimming pool

Get swim lessons for you and your kids

If you are at the beach:
Obey warnings represented by colored beach flags.

Watch for dangerous waves or rip currents — water that is discolored and choppy, foamy, or filled with debris and moving in a channel away from shore.

If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore.

More Info from the Red Cross

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