A safe summer is a happy summer. The Medical Director of Five Star ER, Dr. Brian Aldred, explained why water safety is so important and what to do if we find ourselves in an emergency situation. Drowning is a leading cause of death among children, including infants and toddlers. When most of us are enjoying time at the pool or beach, injuries aren’t the first thing on our minds. Yet, drownings are a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning.
What to do when seeing a child in trouble:
- Get the child out of the water.
- If you are unable to safely pull the child from the water, throw a floating object, life jacket, kick board, even an empty jug. If the child is unreachable, help use a pole, ring buoy, or even a tree branch.
- If you have to enter the water, bring something that floats. Keep it between you and the child. Many victims have drown their rescuer.
- Start checking the A, B, C’s (airway, breathing, and circulation).
- Have someone call 911.
Secondary drowning can be difficult to recognize since the victim appears to be OK right after a near-drowning event. Your child may breathe in a very small amount of water and seem like he or she has successfully expelled it through coughing. In secondary drowning, the water may fill up some of the oxygen-rich pores of the lungs, which reduces the ability to oxygenate blood as it passes through. The heart does not slow down significantly with this process, but rather very, very slowly, so your child will still be able to talk and walk. The only symptoms may be a sudden change in personality or level of awareness as the blood oxygen level drops over time. So if your child has experienced a near-drowning experience, watch for a sudden change of personality or energy level. You can save your child’s life if you act quickly and get them medical treatment immediately.
About Five Star ER
Five Star ER, based in Austin, Texas, is a freestanding emergency department owned and operated by Emergency Service Partners (ESP), a physician-owned group providing emergency medical care in Central Texas emergency rooms since 1988. ESP is also the exclusive provider of emergency physician services to the Seton Healthcare Family. Five Star ER, in partnership with the Seton Healthcare Family, leverages the existing relationship to offer continuity of care should there be a need for patient transfer. Operational hours for Five Star ER facilities are 24/7/365. For more information visit FiveStarER.com.
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