Jun 13, 2011


I pulled a drowning kid out of the river at Bright Angel Park last year. 20 feet out from shore. Swam right past his parents, helped him in, walked back past his parents who just looked a little annoyed.

Was I wrong? Was he just a goofy 11-year-old playing around? I had ummed and ahhed for a few seconds - do I potentially make a fool out of myself if he's actually not in trouble, especially with his family right there? But this fantastic article made me glad that I decided to err on the side of caution:Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning.

The article helped me understand my own response when an older girl almost drowned me during a camping trip. In full view of my family and friends, she repeatedly dunked me (intending it to be fun). My brother was just 20 feet away and until today neither of us understood why I didn't call for help. I went into the precise "instinctive drowning response" they describe - unable to scream or wave for help, just trying to get enough breath each time she let me up to survive the next dunking, letting my body go limp to preserve energy and breath. A truly terrifying moment of my childhood.

As we finally head into summer (witness only 5 kids in line this morning when the bell rang to start the last week of school), please read that article and be clear on the real signs of drowning (not usually as active as my own experience).

"It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents), Of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening."

Enjoyed my third swim of the year at the grade one beach day last week (the first swim being January, 1, second at Crescent Beach on Easter weekend), and look forward to many more beautiful and safe swims with my family this summer.

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