Drowning looks very different in real life than how it’s portrayed on TV and in movies. That makes it all the more dangerous — it could be easy to miss in reality.
In fact, drowning is the second cause of unintentional death for kids ages 1 to 14. That’s why it’s crucial to learn to recognize the warning signs and protect your loved ones in the water.
Know what to look for
- Quiet. The person will be unable to call for help. They won’t wave for help either — their arms naturally will extend to help them lift their mouth above the water.
- Glassy or unfocused eyes, or closed eyes.
- Staying upright. The person will be vertical, not kicking their legs.
- Mouth near the water level. Their head will be low, often tilted back.
Learn more about the Instinctive Drowning Response.
Take steps to prevent it
- Swimming lessons. Teach your kids to swim early so they’re comfortable in water, and use life jackets.
- Supervision. Choose pools or beaches where lifeguards are present. Even with a lifeguard, you should supervise your kids in the water — drowning can take less than a minute.
- Partner up. You and your kids should always swim with a buddy.
- Practice safety at your own pool. Use barriers and gates, and create a pool safety kit.
Get more water safety tips from the CDC.