How To Prevent Drowning Accidents And What To Do In The Event Of An Accident

Smiling little girl in swimming pool According to figures from Water Safety Victoria, nearly three quarters of all drowning deaths are the result of a lack of adult supervision. You might think that the most likely place to drown is in a pool or the sea, but a bath is just as dangerous (children need only five centimetres of water to drown). Equally troubling is that a child can drown in 30 seconds.

Prevent a tragic accident at your home

When it comes to the potential for accidents that lead to drowning, there are definite things you can do around the home to prevent it: First, make sure your pool is properly fenced and secure. There are strict laws in place to reduce the chance of accidents, but you also need to monitor your own practices and the landscape to make sure that no child could get in by climbing over the fence or by a gate that has been left open. Second, always empty the bath after use. Third, never leave your young child unattended in the bath, pool or near water.   Consider other drowning dangers around the home including ponds or dams, water tanks and even nappy buckets. It’s not often the case that drowning is accompanied by loud splashing and screaming, so don’t trust that you can rely on sound to alert you–keep your eyes on them at all times around water! Hopefully, having taken these precautions, you will never have to administer first aid to a drowning child. But children don’t need much time to get themselves into trouble, so if you do find your child drowning you’ll need to be quick in administering help.

How to treat drowning

First, make sure you assess for danger. As soon as you can safely pull the child from water, do so. Then follow these steps: Call for medical help. Roll the child into the recovery position. Open the airway and examine the mouth for obstructions. Roll the child onto their back. Administer compressions to expel water from the lungs. If gagging or vomiting starts, roll the child onto their side to let the water drain. If they’re not breathing properly or still suffering with abnormal breathing, roll the child back onto their back and resume compressions until help arrives. Importantly, don’t assume you will know how to react in the event of a drowning. Be prepared and have a plan! 

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