How to Administer First Aid to a Drowning Adult or Child

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With summer in full swing, many holidaymakers head off around the country and abroad to enjoy some time in the sun.

During the hot weather, it’s important to stay hydrated and avoid excessive sun exposure. But it’s also crucial to be aware of the dangers that come with spending time in bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, and the sea.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death worldwide, and it can happen quickly and without warning. In the UK, around 400 people drown each year. While not all drowning deaths are preventable, knowing how to administer first aid to a drowning adult or child could save a life.

With that in mind, let’s look at what to do should you suspect a young person or adult is drowning.

What to Do If You Suspect Someone is Drowning

The first thing to do is to call for help. If you’re at a beach or pool, there should be lifeguards on hand who can assist. If you’re not near a lifeguard, call 999 and ask for the coastguard or ambulance service, depending on your location and circumstances.

Once you have called for help, you can assess the situation and decide whether it’s safe for you to enter the water. Generally speaking, you should never enter the water yourself unless professionally trained to do so. However, if it’s clear that entering the water presents no danger to yourself, you may do so.

Once on dry land, lay the person drowning down on their back and tilt their head back to open the airway. If they’re unconscious, begin CPR by placing your hands in the centre of their chest and pushing down firmly 30 times. Then, blow into their mouth twice before repeating the chest compressions. For a child or baby, start with five rescue breaths, then 30 compressions to two breaths.

If the person drowning is conscious and coughing up water, they should be moved into the recovery position to avoid them choking on any vomit or residual water.

Spotting the Signs of Secondary Drowning

One of the dangers of drowning is that it can lead to secondary drowning. This is when water enters the lungs and causes swelling, making it difficult for the person to breathe. Secondary drowning can happen any time over an extended period after the initial incident (up to 72 hours), so it’s essential to be vigilant and keep an eye on the person for any signs or symptoms.

Signs of secondary drowning include:

  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Drowsiness or confusion
  • Irritability or unusual behaviour
  • Pain in the chest or stomach
  • Difficulty talking

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately.

Seek First Aid Training in Liverpool to Improve Drowning Survival Rates

While drowning is a serious and potentially fatal incident, it’s important to remember that many incidents can be prevented. By being aware of the dangers that water presents and knowing what to do in an emergency, you could save a life.

At TL Training, we offer first aid courses in Liverpool and surrounding areas to help people gain the skills and knowledge they need to deal with an emergency. Our first aid courses are ideal for those who work near water, such as lifeguards, swimming instructors, and water sports professionals. They cover various topics, including recognising the signs of drowning, what to do in a drowning emergency, and how to administer first aid.

For more information about our first aid courses in Liverpool, or to book a place on a course, contact TL Training today.

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