What To Do When Someone Is Drowning

Harberry Training present to you the first aid courses NI can rely on. Always keep an eye on children near water because they can drown in only a few millimetres. Drowning may happen fast and quietly, and it claims the lives of a terrible number of people each year. 

Always dump the water as soon as you’re done using it, and never leave the bath running while you’re away. To keep your child safe, don’t rely on buoyancy aids like float seats, rubber rings, or armbands; always be present.

Drowning victims are more likely to vomit because they swallow a huge amount of water. You should be aware of this when resuscitating them, and you may need to shift them onto their side to prevent them from inhaling vomit into their lungs.


What should you do if you see someone drowning?

Remove them from the water as soon as possible if they are unconscious, but never put yourself in danger. If you haven’t been trained to rescue a drowning victim, don’t go into the water. If possible, throw a lifebelt or rope; otherwise, seek immediate assistance.

To open the airway, turn them on their back, tilt their head, and lift their chin once they’re on dry land.


Drowning Adult, Baby, or Child First Aid

Start resuscitation if they aren’t breathing. If a defibrillator is available, use it right away.

If the water is warm and they haven’t been in it long, they may begin to regain awareness rapidly. If this occurs, immediately place them in the recovery position to aid with the drainage of water and vomit. Make sure they’re still breathing.

In all cases of suspected drowning, you should start with 5 initial rescue breaths before commencing the regular resuscitation guidelines of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths. Then continue to repeat the cycle of 30 compressions followed by 2 breaths for as long as possible. 


There are 3 acceptable reasons why you may stop administering CPR;

  1. More qualified help arrives and takes over
  2. The casualty shows signs of life and normal breathing is restored
  3. You yourself become so exhausted and therefore physically can’t continue

If a casualty does regain consciousness, you can place them into the recovery position and monitor the 4 key observations – Breathing, Responsiveness, Pulse & Skin. Keep the casualty warm while you wait for professional help to arrive and observe for any signs of Shock. 


Make sure you’ve dialled 999 for assistance.

IMPORTANT: Anyone who has been in a near-drowning incident should see a doctor right away because secondary drowning can happen hours later.


Secondary Drowning

Anyone who has been unconscious in the water should be evaluated in a hospital since subsequent drowning is a genuine possibility. Even a small amount of water entering the lungs might cause secondary drowning. The lungs become inflamed and irritated, and fluid is drawn into the alveoli from the blood supply (the air pockets of the lungs).

This life-threatening reaction can occur up to 72 hours after the casualty appears to have recovered. The casualty’s condition could rapidly deteriorate, resulting in serious breathing difficulties. If this occurs, call an ambulance right away.


What We Offer

Harberry First Aid Training offers award-winning first aid training that is customised to your specific requirements. Please take a look around our website to learn more about our first aid courses. It’s critical to maintain your abilities up to date and fresh. Individuals and groups around Northern Ireland are currently receiving vital first aid training from us.

For further information about our courses, please visit call us on 028 90 098 858 or get in touch here.

This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice. Harberry Training disclaims any responsibility or liability for any diagnoses or acts based on this material.

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