Drowning is the experience of respiratory impairment from being submerged in any type of liquid. It usually results in one of three ways: death, morbidity (having disease), or no morbidity.
A global report by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that over 300,000 people drown per year. Drowning is in the top 10 leading causes of death, particularly among young people and children across the globe. Moreover, it is the top cause of injury-based death among children aged 1 to 4. These unfortunate statistics highlight the need to learn to apply first aid on how to save a drowning child.
How to Save a Drowning Child
Contrary to what people may think, drowning does not require a deep pool. It can happen with as little as 5 centimeters of water. Here are some pointers on how to save a drowning child.
Parents of children who are learning how to swim must familiarize themselves with these first aid tips should anything go wrong. If you have not been taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), consider taking courses in first aid.
Here is what you should do in the case of a child drowning or having drowned.
- Get the child out of the water.
- Call 911 or emergency services for help.
- Part of how to save a drowning child is checking for signs of breathing. Open the child’s airway and gently tilt the head back to elevate the chin. Listen with an ear to the nose and watch for signs for breathing.
If there appears to be no breathing:
- For children under 1 year of age, put your mouth over the child’s mouth and nose, giving two breaths. Each breath should last approximately half a second. Watch for the up-and-down chest movement.
- For a child over 1 year, pinch the child’s nose and place your mouth over the child’s mouth to give two long breaths. Each breath should last about 2 seconds. Watch for chest movement before delivering the second breath.
If there is no chest movement: try again and realign the head, lift up the chin and repeat the cycles of breathing.
How to check for a pulse
Check for a pulse with two fingers on the neck beside the Adam’s apple. In babies, feel the inside of the arm between shoulder and elbow and wait 5 seconds.
- If there is a pulse, supply a breath every 3 seconds. Check for a pulse each minute and give breaths until the child is breathing normally again or when help arrives.
- If there is no pulse for children aged 1, imagine a line between the child’s nipples and place two fingers below the center of the chest. Do 5 fast compressions on the chest and place your mouth over the child’s mouth and nose to give one breath.
- If there is no pulse for a child over 1 year, use your hand’s heel to apply 5 compressions on the center of breastbone, above the conjoining of the ribs. After the compressions, pinch the child’s nose and place your mouth over their mouth and nose. Give one full breath.
Continue the cycle of chest compressions and giving breaths for 1 minute. After doing so, check for a pulse and repeat the cycle until you find a pulse or help arrives.