Lifeguards: drowning doesn't always look like drowning

Posted at: 06/23/2013 3:48 PM
Updated at: 06/23/2013 10:26 PM
By: Dan Bazile

When the sun comes out and the temperature rises, a splash in the pool is refreshing and it can be a lot of fun.

Kids and their parents at Locust Lane Pool in Clifton Park certainly took advantage of their town pool to cool off on a hot sunny day. The most important rule for parents this summer is keep an eye on the kids.

“A lot of time we'll have parents reading a book or on their electronic device,” says Lifeguard Logan Barbour.

Lifeguards are there to help. But they say the more eyes, the better.

Even with common sense, accidents in the water can sometimes be inevitable. According to experts hundreds of children drown every year, some right in front of their parents who have no idea it's happening.

“When a victim of drowning is in the most dangerous phases, which could happen in seconds, you're not going to hear them scream and yell for help. That's the movies. In real life the airway has closed to protect your lungs from the water,” explains Dr. Anthony Ferraioli, M.D.

He says the splashing around is perhaps the panic phase where the drowning victim is still in control of their movements. And within seconds, comes the dangerous phase where the person quietly drowns.

No screaming, no thrashing. You could simply turn your head and it happens. That's why lifeguards are constantly on the lookout. The best defense, Ferraioli says, is swimming lessons.

But even if they're strong swimmers, you should still keep an eye out.