- Heather Murray
Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning Presents: Sunday Survival Stories: Normalize Water Safety
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 and associated video show a UK diplomat saving a woman who unexpectantly enters the water in China. It brings up many water safety points- some of which the people present use well and some which we could all be more aware of.
Many good things happened in this video. Fellow bystanders threw out a life preserver ring to help the rescuer and victim safely exit the water. It appears that the woman was in a well populated area and not near the water alone. However, there are still a few layers of protection that could have been added to help prevent this accident.
1- Red flags. It is clear in the video that the water in this particular area is turbulent. Any time you are around water you should always stop and look for red flags- and stay away from dangerous areas with fast moving water.
2- Awareness of Surroundings- there seems to be an uptake in the number of injuries/deaths related to people attempting to take photos in dangerous situations. By standing on the edge of the rocks to try to take this photo, the woman slipped and unexpectantly landed in the water. By being more aware of where the edge of the rocks were, and by only standing on dry areas of rock further from the water, this entire incident may have been avoided.
3- Knowing how to swim. A comment at the end of this article mentions that many people in the country do not know how to swim. This is an important level of drowning prevention. Float lessons can be started as young as 6months old and swim lessons range from the young to adult.
Not only should you know how to swim, you should make swim safety a normal part of your swim experience. Every swim experience will present a unique environment and situation. Make it a normal part of your routine to point out water when you see it and discuss how to be respectful and safe around the water. Discussions can range from pool rules to the importance of emptying a bathtub as soon as the bubble bath is finished to wearing a life jacket in natural bodies of water.
We are glad this woman was saved from this potentially deadly experience and hope everyone can take away some water safety to help them prevent drowning in their next water encounter.
Learn to swim and normalize water safety to prevent drownings. Have fun, be safe, and use layers of protection!