NBC 5 Today is continuing our swim week coverage to help prevent drownings this summer.
Do you know what you’re supposed to do if an actual drowning happens?
Local drowning prevention leaders want to show parents something they hope families never have to see in real life.
MOCK DROWNING PREPARES PARENTS FOR REAL-LIFE SITUATION
The Know Before You Go Program at Children’s Health and the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas teamed up to put together a mock drowning. It’s not real – they’re just using a plastic dummy but real paramedics.
They do these often to demonstrate exactly what the moments leading up to a drowning and the aftermath look like so that parents can know what to expect and do everything they can to prevent it.
Click the video above to watch.
“Drowning is a quick and silent event,” said Jesus Alderete, Injury Prevention Program Manager at Children’s Health.
He said drownings are preventable through supervision and swim lessons.
“Our data at Children’s Health shows that for 69% of the kids that drown, there was an adult present,” he said. “Parents assume that audio supervision can replace active visual supervision.”
But if a drowning does occur in a pool, he said if someone can swim, they should absolutely jump in. But there’s a lot to take into account in that circumstance.
He warns if parents don’t know how to swim or are not strong swimmers, they could put themselves in danger.
“A drowning victim in distress or in panic mode can easily pull a full-grown adult right under the water as well. And then in those instances, you could have possibly two drowning incidents other than one,” Alderete said.
That’s why the phrase “throw don’t go” is an important part of most swim safety programs.
“So we encourage parents to have the right equipment in and around the pool, maybe a hook, a pool noodle something to get the kid out,” said Alderete.
You should call 911 immediately and CPR should be performed as soon as the individual is out of the water. That’s why CPR lessons are an important resource to take advantage of.
“It does make the difference between life and death in those situations, providing oxygen for those kids while medical attention arrives,” said Alderete.
SWIM LESSONS REDUCE THE RISK OF DROWNING
Swimming lessons can reduce a child’s risk of drowning by 88%.
“Let me be clear, even kids that know how to swim are at risk of drowning,” said Alderete. “Lifeguards should always be the parents, especially for kids that don’t know how to swim or poor swimmers. They should always stay within arm’s reach.”
This Memorial Day weekend, all YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas branch locations will be offering free swim assessments to help families access life-saving resources.
“It takes no more than 15 minutes. When you bring your child swim instructor will assist them and their ability in and around the water and then we’ll also give you guidance on how to register for swimming lessons, which proper classes sign up for,” said regional aquatics director Myron Barron.
The YMCA is also working hard to put together its apartment swim program, which brings free swim lessons to apartment complexes in communities that lack access to such lessons.
There are openings this summer for complexes to register.