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  • Heather Murray

Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning Presents: Sunday Survival Stories: Medical Conditions & Water

Every Sunday, we will share a story of a non-fatal drowning, discuss where things went wrong, and give some pointers on how to prevent it from happening to the people you love. Thankfully, these stories have happy endings for those involved, but sadly, we lose too many people to drowning every year. We hope examining these real-life stories help put the dangers of water into perspective and help you introduce various principles of water safety to your family!

Today’s story features a segment of water safety we haven’t spent a lot of time on in the past- medical conditions and the water. Today’s story specifically talks about someone with a history of seizures, but it is a great feature to encourage us all to stop and think, if I or someone I love has seizures, heart problems, etc., what extra layers of protection should I have in place?

Seizures alone can have serious effects and dangerous outcomes, as can any swimming environment. Combine the two and the chance for fatalities increase.

When someone you love has a history of seizures or another medical condition, these layers of protection are even more important for preventing an unnecessary drowning.

(1) Swim with a Buddy- Make sure someone is actively in the water with the individual and knows their medical history and pre-warning signs to be on the lookout for

(2) Have a water guardian- In addition to having someone in the water to keep the individual afloat and help them get out of the water in an emergency, you should also have a water guardian outside of the water who can call for help at the first sign of something going wrong

(3) Wear a life jacket- Choose a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket that is meant for your swim activity, fits properly, and is designed to turn an individual into the face up position

(4) Know CPR and about any Medications the Individual may have- Make sure people swimming with the individual are aware of medications and have them on hand in case of an emergency (such as Diastat for seizures lasting longer than 5minutes). Immediate CPR at the scene increases a victim’s chance for surviving a drowning.

Do you know someone with a history of seizures or another medical condition which may increase their chance of drowning in a water emergency? Take time today to think about what you need to make their next swim experience as safe as possible!

Medical conditions can lead to danger in the water. Have fun, be safe, and know your risks!

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