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Drowning in children

First aid

Drowning in children, first aid

The summer begins and unfortunately we see in the news cases of drowning in children. Below we present the updated guide with the steps to follow when faced with drowning in children.

 Following the recommendations of the European Resuscitation Council for the performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in drowning.

Step 1: Drowning in children, safety first.

Once the victim is rescued from the aquatic environment. First of all, protect yourself, minimize your own risk at all times, and secure your target area.

Step 2: Recognize cardiac arrest and alert.

Once the person is rescued from the water, check if he responds to stimuli and if he breathes normally or otherwise does not breathe or does so abnormally. If he does not answer  y does not breathe normally (gasping, weird noises ...), call the 112 and inform.

Then we leave a video to see what are these abnormal (invalid) breaths because they unfortunately confuse people a lot and occur at the beginning of cardiac arrest in a 40% of the times. As you can see in the video, they are rare breaths like a fish out of water, making gasps and strange movements like spasms.

Step 3: We start Boca a Boca.

If you know how to make a child mouth-to-mouth (pinch your nose and throw your head back), perform 5 insufflations to load your lungs with air.

Each insufflation should last approximately 1 second and be enough to see the chest rise. Trained people can start the vents in the water, if trained to do so, before taking the victim to the mainland or to the rescue boat.

Key data: Most drowning victims will suffer a cardiac arrest secondary to lack of oxygen.

Step 4: Start chest compressions at the 30: 2 ratio.

After all 5 rescue breaths have been completed, start chest compressions immediately. Every 30 compressions in the center of the thorax with one hand, we will perform 2 inflations.

How long do I continue with the 30: 2?

We will continue until the victim begins to breathe normally, a semiautomatic defibrillator arrives to follow instructions, or the ambulance arrives. If you don't know how to do mouth-to-mouth, continue with compressions.

Step 5: External semiautomatic defibrillator (DEA-DESA).

If the facilities have a defibrillator close, dry the child's chest before placing the electrodes for defibrillation. Remember that in children one electrode is placed in front of the thorax and another in the back. (Here You will find more information about defibrillators in children )

Standard defibrillation procedures should be followed. The semi-automatic defibrillator (DESA) is a very safe device to use and remember that the defibrillator will guide you with voice messages step by step.

Even if the person is completely wet, we will only dry the part of the thorax where we will place the electrodes. Remember that the victim has to be located in a firm and dry area. 


A common question is: "What do I do if I see that the victim gets water or mousse through his mouth, while performing the compressions?"

In some cases, large amounts of foam can be seen coming out of the mouth of the victim, the result of mixing moving air and water. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE the foam because it will continue to come out. Continue with compressions and ventilations until emergency personnel arrive. We will only stop if you breathe normally or start moving normally.


Proyecto Salvavidas wishes you a good summer!

ANEK S3 training department.

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