Preventing the silent killer with swimming safety - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Preventing the silent killer with swimming safety

On a hot summer day, nothing feels better than a dip in the pool.  However the dangers lurking in the water's surface are often overlooked or underestimated.

According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in young children.  Shockingly, many drown even when an adult is present.  Experts say that is because drowning is easily missed if you don't know what to look for.

Most people expect a drowning person to flail and scream for help. In reality, drowning is called the silent killer because a swimmer in distress will most often just bob up and down or sink. 

"They may not be able to scream, because they are bobbing up and down. They are getting water in their lungs," explained lifeguard Aidan Marshall who is also the aquatics director for the A.C. Lewis YMCA.

It can also happen very quickly.  Marshall says anyone can drown in as little as ten seconds.

Lifeguards here say prevention is key to saving lives.  If you aren't a strong swimmer, they encourage lessons which are available at any age.

"The best tip is, if you can't swim, wear a life jacket. Whether you're at a pool, whether you're swimming a lake, the river - always have a life jacket," said Marshall.

Keep a close eye on swimmers at all times, even if a lifeguard is present, so you can act immediately if someone is in trouble.

Marshall also says you should keep an emergency phone nearby so you can call 911, and also know the location of emergency floatation devices.

It's also a good idea to know CPR.

When the pool isn't in use, make sure there is a fence or barrier to keep anyone from falling in and that all toys are clear of the area.

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