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Drowning: What It Looks Like, How To Prevent It

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

CBS Houston (con't)

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CBS PHILADELPHIA — Drownings happen every day, often in front of people, who don’t realize what’s happening, until it’s too late. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on what to watch out for.

A dip in the ocean or pool can turn deadly quickly. Ten people are killed every day in accidental drowning. Experts say part of the problem is people don’t know what to look for.

Lifeguard Jackie Navarre says she always methodically scans the entire pool. “Somebody could have slipped right down and you might not have seen it, and no one else might have,” said Jackie.

Experts say it’s not just children who don’t know how to swim. Water can be deadly for anyone. “Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death among Americans, said Jennifer Caudle, a family medicine doctor in Sewell. She says it can happen in seconds. “Drowning can come in many different forms, and there’s no one way that someone drowns. This is why water safety is so important,” said Dr. Caudle.

Jackie says people have the misconception drowning looks a certain way. Actually, there’s often no drama. Jackie demonstrated. Her head bobs slowly up and down. Her mouth is above water, then below. Her arms to the side, pushing down to try to lift up out of the water. It’s the instinctive drowning response, most dangerous for children.

“Especially when they’re little, there’s no sound, it happens in a second, and very quiet, nice and silent,” said Jackie.

Wendy Roberts, a mother of three, has made sure all her children get swimming lessons. It’s the best way to guard against drowning.

Doctors say if you’re in trouble while swimming, try not to panic, instead tread water or float. If in the ocean, swim across the current, and towards shallow water.

More recommendations on how to prevent drownings are available from The American College of Emergency Physicians.

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