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Drowning often a silent killer


One of the major things the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) wants people to know: drowning is a silent killer.

In movies or TV, the swimmer may be depicted as distressed and calling for help.

That is not the case with most drownings.

For an active drowning victim, NDPA CEO Adam Katchmarchi said it is a 20-60 second fight between life and death.

If young children get to re-emerge, the most they usually get is a quick breath.

Adults might be able to call for help when it is them, but it is much of the same.

Katchmarchi said there are a couple steps to take to prevent children drowning.

"We want to restrict access and make sure the doors and windows leading out to those water bodies are alarmed," said Katchmarchi. "That way we can be alerted that there's unauthorized access. Second is supervision, especially during planned swim times. Making sure with non-swimmers that you can reach out and touch them at all times."

Swimming lessons could help as well to make children more competent swimmers.

The CDC said one of the leading causes of death for children is accidents (unintentional injuries) and Katchmarchi said drowning is one of those accidents.

Typically those drownings are in swimming pools and while there are not many of those deaths in Wisconsin pools according to Katchmarchi, drowning can happen in other settings such as lakes and rivers.

"You may be water competent in an 80, 85 degree pool, but now when you move to natural water maybe the water is murky or cloudy," said Katchmarchi. "Maybe it has a current to it and the temperature can be much colder than what you're used to and that changes what we call your water competency. How competent are you to be in that environment safely."

He said do research when swimming in a new environment and know its risks.

Talking through an emergency plan with other people can help as well.

Katchmarchi said if someone is over the age limit for a life jacket on a boat, try to still wear one for safety.

It also sets a good example for children.

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