Special Report

It Only Takes a Minute to Drown and 12 Other Water Safety Facts You Must Not Ignore

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6. It takes 2 minutes to become unconscious

A drowning child can become unconscious in as little as two minutes, according to the Gateway Region YMCA, a children’s nonprofit organization. A child or weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text or apply sunscreen, according to the American Red Cross.

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7. Air-filled water wings are not good protection

Air-filled water wings, swim rings, and other inflatable toys are fun to play with in the water, but they should not be used as protection against drowning, according to the American Red Cross. They can easily shift position, lose air, and even slip out. What kids should be wearing when they are in the water is a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

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8. Stay away from pool drains

The American Red Cross suggests people stay away from pool drains and other openings in pools because they can create suction and hold a child under water.

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9. Life jackets are crucial

It takes a few minutes to put on a life jacket, and this may seem like a lifetime when you’re in a hurry to get in the water and enjoy yourself. But these few minutes may pay off in the end. About 80% of people who drown as a result of boating accidents don’t wear a life jacket when found, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. Most of them, the USCG Reserve says, could have been saved had they been wearing a life jacket.

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10. Most people drown within 10 yards of safety

About 90% of drownings among adolescents, excluding from boating accidents, occur within 10 yards of safety, according to the Pediatric Board Study Guide. Parents or any guardians watching a child in a pool or other body of water should be within an arm’s length of them.