A drowned child is someone who suffocates ( asphyxiates ) underwater and can not be revived. Near drowning occurs when a child suffers asphyxiation underwater, but may be revived.
- Assess and observe scene: Do not attempt an in-water rescue unless you are trained to do so.
- If trained to do so, remove the child from water. Alert EMS and additional trained personal if required to perform in-water rescue.
- Small children can drown in as little as one to five centimeters/two inches of water – which is just enough to submerge their mouth, and nose. Bathtubs, buckets, water containers, toilet bowl, and wading pools can all be drowning dangers for small children.
- Treat near-drowned child as a medical emergency and follow primary care procedures.
- Near drowning is essentially a respiratory ( breathing ) emergency. For this reason, it’s important to immediately provide CPR and attend to the breathing and circulation needs of the child – even before activating EMS if you are alone (Care First). If you have an AED available, quickly use it in combination with CPR.
- Vomiting or regurgitation often follows immersion in water. Initial assessment of the airway should be done with the child on his side to prevent inhalation of fluids.
- If child is conscious and complains of neck pain or altered sensation in fingers or toes, suspect a spinal injury and support the head and neck.
- Even if the child feels fine, you must transfer the child to emergency care due to possible lung complications.
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