An Article by Worsley Training – First Aid Training in and around Wiltshire


Some key statistics from the Royal Life Saving Society UK:

  • Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children in the UK
  • Over 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year – equivalent to one person drowning every 20 hours
  • Hundreds more have near-drowning experiences, sometimes suffering life-changing injuries

Drowning is when someone is unable to breathe because their nose and mouth are submerged in water / another liquid.

Dry drowning – is when water never reaches the lungs. When it enters the airway, it causes a muscular spasm that closes it and prevents the passage of both air and water making it hard to breathe.

Wet drowning – is when a little water gets into the lungs, usually after they have become unconscious.

Secondary drowning – after wet drowning the little drop of water can irritate the lungs’ lining and cause swelling or fluid build-up, which makes it difficult / impossible for the oxygen exchange to take place.  This may not be obvious immediately but will get worse over the following 24 hours so always keep an eye on anyone who has had a drowning incident.

If they are not breathing you need to resuscitate them, so roll them on their side to drain any water out of their mouth, then give 5 rescue breaths followed by 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths. Continue 30:2 until help arrives.

Prevention is always better than cure, so:

  • Empty paddling pools and buckets as soon as they have been used and then turn upside down
  • Always supervise bath time (never leave children unattended). Empty the bath as soon as possible after use
  • Swim with any children in your care – it’s more fun for them and you can keep them close and safe
  • On beaches check when the tide will be high and low and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide. Also, be aware of dangerous rip-currents
  • Inflatables like dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year there are drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea. Do not use them in open water
  • Do not swim near to or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater or coral
  • Swim parallel to the beach and close to the shore

More information at rlssuk.org.uk


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