First Aid for a Drowning Adult, Baby or Child
Always supervise children near water, they can drown in just a couple of centimetres. Drowning can happen quickly and quietly and causes a frightening number of fatalities every year. Always empty water play as soon as you have finished with it, never leave the bath running unattended. Do not rely on buoyancy aids such as float seats, rubber rings or arm bands to keep your child safe, always be there with them. Likewise with bath seats.
If you are aware that someone is drowning
If they are unconscious in water, get them out as quickly as possible but never put yourself in danger.
Once on dry land, turn them on their back, tilt their head and lift the chin to open the airway.
If they’re not breathing start resuscitation. If there is a defibrillator available, use it immediately.
For an adult, start with 30 chest compressions then 2 rescue breaths. For a child or baby, start with 5 rescue breaths then 30 compressions to 2 breaths. Push hard and fast and keep going.
If they start to regain consciousness swiftly put them into the recovery position. Keep checking they’re breathing.
Ensure you have called the emergency services.
If you are a qualified lifeguard, you will have been taught to give 5 rescue breaths to all casualties. Adhere to this modification.
IMPORTANT: Anyone who has been in a near-drowning situation should be checked by a doctor as secondary drowning can occur many hours later.
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