Hyperventilation

Pulled a lifeless child out of swimming pool yesterday. Odd feeling.

What I remember most is two things:

  1. How long it took about 80 people around the pool to notice that a man was calling for help. He was calling and waving and a couple of people even waved back. But his plea for help somehow didn’t really register until I took the child from him and shouted as well.
  2. The foam coming from the mount of the child as I dropped him on the ground outside of the pool.

Luckily, a doctor was close-by and managed to revive the child. He did first aid until the staff doctor from the hotel’s infirmary arrived. The staff of the hotel also called an ambulance that arrived only a few minutes later. All in all, when the near-death registered, professional help came quick.

If you have a child who loves to dive: Make sure they don’t take deep breaths before diving. They’ll lose consciousness without any prior warning sign – it’s called shallow water blackout. From the Wikipedia article:

Significantly, victims drown quietly underwater without alerting anyone to the fact that there is a problem and are typically found on the bottom[…]

Some tips for people who want to save lives:

  • People who are about to drown don’t call for help – if they had the air, they wouldn’t be drowning in the first place. Look for signs of panic and utter silence. Playing children scream, shout and splash. Downing swimmers just splash.
  • People move all the time. If you think something is odd, watch them for 10 seconds. If you don’t see any controlled movement in that time, call for help. Remember that water is never still. So if the hands float a bit, that’s not movement. Watch out of for leg movement, swimming moves, looking around (head movement). If in doubt, call for help – pulling someone out of water takes a lot of time.

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