Drowning myths vs. reality - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Drowning myths vs. reality

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Before you know it, school will be over kids will be hitting the pools.

That’s all the more reason we can't stress the ABC’s of water-safety: A - for active adult supervision; B - for barriers; and C - for classes. That means swim classes for kids, and CPR instruction for older children and adults.

However, even with all those things in place, doing away with parents' misconceptions about drowning, can truly make the difference when it comes to being a lifesaver.

“We don't think it's going to happen to us, until it does happen. So, our biggest mission is to keep these incidents from happening,” said Jessica Mitchell, with Tucson Medical Center.

When it comes to drownings or near-drownings, water-safety experts say, many parents still have misconceptions.

“Probably the number one misconception is parents think that they're going to hear their child drowning, when actually, drowning is very silent, and it's fast,” Mitchell said.

In fact, according to research by the group Safe Kids, nearly half of parents surveyed thought if a child was drowning nearby, they would hear it. That is a misconception that is far removed from reality.

“Little kids don't really know and comprehend what's going on, so they actually just silently go under the water, and they can't get themselves back up."

“The true reality of it is, it doesn't make a sound. Usually, they slip underneath the water. They're not able to yell out before that happens. They're not able to make a splash. They inhale that water, and it's silent,” added Tracy Koslowski, with Drexel Heights Fire.

Another misconception is that it's OK to leave a child alone near water for “just a couple of minutes.” Experts say, a drowning happens in mere seconds.

“Once the struggling starts, you have less than a minute to rescue that child, so if you think you can walk away from the pool for a minute to two, and that child drowns, you probably are not going to have a very good chance of rescuing that child,” Mitchell said.

“Again, it's silent, it happens right under our noses. We don't realize it. We can be right next to the pool, and it will happen, and we not even realize it,” Koslowski said.

When it comes to active adult supervision, more than half of parents surveyed thought the lifeguard was the primary person responsible for their child's safety. Turns out, that’s not entirely true.

“Lifeguards are great, as far as if an incident happens; they're able to render aid. They're good for keeping rules around the pool, order and stuff like that, to reduce incidents. But no, we still need to be watching the kids,” Koslowski said.

“When your child is in the pool, you should be off your phone, your nose out of your books, and you should be the one that's watching your child,” Mitchell said.

Another misconception that Safe Kids found is that 60% of parents wouldn’t worry so much about drowning, if their child had taken swimming lessons. Though, when it comes to classes, practice is the key.

“Children get swim-lessons one summer, they need to go back the next summer, to make that memory of those swim skills happen for them. So, it takes years and years, and lots of practice,” Koslowski said.

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