Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

What does drowning really look like?

If you watch movies or TV shows in which people drown or nearly drown, it almost always looks dramatic. They flail their arms. They scream for help. They splash around and make a scene. Almost always, other people notice, and it takes a while for them to actually slip under the surface.

This may not be how drowning looks like in real life, and it's very important to draw the distinction. People often have no idea what to look for, they don't notice that someone near them is drowning, and the perpetuation of this false idea from TV and movies can cost lives.

It can be quiet

In many cases, drowning comes with almost no noise and no calls for help. 

For instance, one couple was splashing each other near a sandbar, and the wife yelled. After that, a nearby ship captain jumped in the water and swam toward them. They thought that he had misinterpreted her yell as a call for help, and they tried to wave him off.

He swam right between them, nearly shoving them out of the way. Just feet from them, their daughter was dying. The 9-year-old girl started silently drowning and they had no idea. She did not say a word, did not make a sound.

Fortunately, the captain had professional training and knew what signs to look for. He saved the girl's life. Had he not, the parents may never have known anything was wrong until she disappeared.

The statistics

You don't just have to look at stories to understand how quiet it is. Let's take a look at the statistics.

For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that roughly 10 percent of children who drown do so while their parents are right there. They have no clue that the child is drowning. They see the whole event play out, thinking they're safely keeping an eye on the kids, and watch them drown.

Overall, the numbers also show that 375 of the 750 children who drown annually have parents or adults within 25 yards of them. Parents often worry about kids drowning in the water on their own. The reality is that adults in the area often hear nothing and have no idea a child is in danger.

These are frightening statistics, and they show why some age groups have accidental drowning as a top cause of death. It's very hard to prevent something that no one notices until it is too late.

Your options

Have you lost a child in a drowning accident? Do you think that someone else was at fault? You may have a right to compensation, and you need to know what legal steps you can take.

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