Drowning Can Happen After You Leave The Pool - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Drowning Can Happen After You Leave The Pool

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Amarillo, TX - Drowning doesn't just happen in the pool.

Pediatrician, Mariada George, said extra precaution should be taken when bringing your kids to the pool to keep them safe from the dangers of the water.
  
During the summer months, a visit to the pool or beach is something we all find relaxing.

But one thing we need to remember are the dangers of leaving small children unattended and how drowning isn't just something to look for in the water.

Any type of drowning incident can possibly lead to the closing of someone's lungs, George said.

She also said these events can happen anywhere from an hour to 8 hours later after taking in water to the lungs.

George said she suggests anyone who has been struggling in the water for even a minute, or feels they had trouble with swallowing water, to go to the E.R. or get observed by a doctor immediately.

Even bacteria within the water can cause someone to vomit later on, causing the person to inhale acid and essentially drown, George said.

She said in cases of struggle with water inhalation, the water swallowed can wash off or deactivate a substance called surfactant.

Surfactant serves to keep the lungs moist, allowing them to open and close and easily allow the flow of oxygen throughout.

When the surfactant is washed away, the lungs will stick together, closing off all access to air.

Amarillo Parks and Recreation are implementing a system at all Amarillo city pools allowing them to determine children's swim levels prior to entering the pool.

Shelly Gallagher, Aquatics Supervisor for APR, said they have implemented a stop light system that allows lifeguards to easily keep an eye on children who can not swim well.

She said wristbands of red, yellow and green are given to all children under 7 years old and under 48 inches tall.

Each child is questioned of their swimming ability and given a band based off of their comfort in the water.

Red bands require children to have a parent in the water within arm's reach.

Yellow bands state the child may be in the water without a parent and can dog paddle and/or float on their own, but are not ready for deep water.

Green tells lifeguards the child has passed a facility swim test and has permission to be in all areas of the pool including the diving boards.

This system is called the "Swim Safely With Sammy" program and is expected to create a safer environment for all children.