Very few people have actually seen a person in real life who is really drowning.  Unfortunately, Hollywood has it wrong too.

The hot weather of summer is here and there's a good chance you want to spend a lot of your time in the water.  While it can be fun, and cool you down, it can also be dangerous.

If you've watched movies then you probably think that a person who is drowning looks like a flailing fish, just flopping out of the water, yelling, and splashing wildly.  However, you might be surprised to know that normally it's not like that at all.

If you have children, you really should learn what drowning really looks like.  According to Sounding Online, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under 5 and the second leading cause of accidental death for children 5 to 15 years old.   But it's not just kids!  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, well over 50 percent of all drownings are adult men.

So what does it really look like?  According to Dr. Francesco A. Pia, you should look out for these signs:

1.  They will not be yelling - Trying to breathe will take precedence over yelling.

2.  The mouths of drowning people alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water

3.  They will not be waving for help - instead, look for them to be extending their hands out on the surface of the water

4.  The bodies of drowning people remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick.


Look for these signs also...

  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Head low in the water, with mouth at water level
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over onto the back
  • Appears to be climbing an invisible ladder


Parents, always supervise your kids.  Drowning can happen in less than a minute.

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