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BritSwim #safesummer: Multiple Drownings

BritSwim lessons always include water safety, as well as the process of learning to swim. A good way to gauge the level of water safety knowledge of our students is to ask them this question: if you saw someone in trouble in the water, what would you do?

Do you know what you would do? Maybe you're like the 85% of our younger students who unhesitatingly reply, "I'd jump in and save them!" 

This is a sweet answer, but a scary statistic. As soon as kids are confident in the water, they are at risk of being involved in a multiple drowning. A multiple drowning is one in which the person trying to rescue the victim is themselves drowned. It's a common phenomenon, and one reason for this is that people are generally unaware just how easy it is for the rescuer to end up in danger, or worse. 

A drowning person will cling to anything and anyone, try to climb up them or over them; they may flail their limbs, grabbing at whatever they can to get to the side or find that breath of air. The strength and intensity of this fight for life is often unexpected, and untrained rescuers can even find themselves injured or drowning when the original victim is relatively young and weak. This is why we tell our students: don't approach a drowning person directly.

So what do we advise you to do if you see a person struggling in the water?

  • Shout for help, whether from a lifeguard or a trained rescuer nearby.
  • If you can reach the person from the side of the pool, pull them out from there - lie down before doing this to stabilise yourself.
  • Use a floating device and throw it to the person. If you have a roped device, throw it just past them.
  • Failing all those options, you must enter the water- get as close as you can to the person while staying within your depth. Keep a floating device between you and them so they can't grab you and put you in danger too. Try and approach them from behind.

Remember these tips yourself, and just as importantly, tell your kids that the way to be a superhero if they see someone struggling is to call for adult help immediately. It's the safest way for them to help and stay out of danger themselves.

BritSwim water safety best swim school Muscat

Muscat, Oman