For many, hearing the term drowning evokes a number of water-related events such as screaming passengers from a sinking ship, a boat being swept by a strong storm or simply unable to swim in a public swimming pool.
It is vital to bear in mind that drowning can occur even at home. Drowning is considered uncommon but it becomes a threat when children are splashing in a paddling pool or sitting in a bath tub. Always remember not to leave a young child unattended since even an inch of water can cover the nose and mouth in case they fall forwards.
What you can do
- Lift the child out of the water and transport with the head at a lower position than the chest to minimize the risk for water inhalation.
- Any wet clothing must be removed and wrap the child with a dry blanket or towel
- If unconscious, open the airway and check the breathing. If breathing, place the child in the recovery position.
What to do for an unconscious child
For infants (birth to 1 year old)
- Open the airway by slowly tilting back the head and lift the chin
- Deliver rescue breaths by placing your mouth over the mouth and nose and steadily blow for about a second until the chest rises. Perform this at least 5 times.
- Position 2 fingers at the middle of the chest and perform 30 chest compressions by compressing about a third deep.
- Deliver 2 rescue breaths and then followed by 30 chest compressions. Continue this cycle for about a minute.
- Call for emergency assistance and repeat the cycle of rescue breathing and chest compressions until the medical team arrives or until the child starts to breathe again.
For a child (1 year and up)
- Open the airway by slowly tilting back the head and lift the chin.
- Deliver rescue breaths by first pinching the nose and deliver rescue breaths by positioning the mouth over the mouth and blow until the chest rises. This must be repeated 5 times.
- Position your hand over the middle of the chest and lean over. Perform 30 chest compressions by compressing down about a third of the depth of the chest.
- Deliver 2 rescue breaths followed by 30 chest compressions. Follow this technique for one minute.
- Call for emergency assistance and follow the cycle of rescue breathing and compressions until help arrives or once the breathing of the child is restored.