Now that we are in the dog days of summer, many children and families across Hampton Roads are hitting the beaches, pools, and waterparks stay cool. Waterplay may be a great way to cool off, but it is also important that you take appropriate safety precautions, including knowing the warning signs of drowning.


Many people may think they know the signs of someone drowning…splashing, yelling, and flailing arms but are surprised to learn that active drowning does not typically involve any of those actions. Cases of drowning often happen quickly and silently. If you’re not paying attention, someone could drown just feet from you without you even noticing.

To prevent a potential tragedy, it’s important that you know what to look out for, especially when young children are involved. Here are 10 warning signs of drowning that parents, caregivers, and lifeguards should be aware of:

  1. Head low in the water with mouth at water level
  2. Head tilted back with mouth open
  3. Hair over forehead or eyes
  4. Eyes closed
  5. Eyes glassy and unable to focus
  6. Trying to swim in a particular direction without making progress
  7. Appears to be trying to climb an invisible ladder
  8. Hyperventilating or gasping
  9. Trying to rollover on their back
  10. Vertical in the water


Prevention is key! In other words, the steps you take before you allow your children to play in the water will help you drastically reduce the risk of potential drownings. Below are some best practices we recommend you implement to help keep children and all others safe while in the water:

  • Teach children to swim from a young age. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children begin learning how to swim between the ages of 1 and 4. This is especially important being there are so many bodies of water around the Hampton Roads region.
  • Supervise all children in the water, even if they know how to swim.
  • Keep toddlers within arm’s reach when in the water, and never rely on floatation devices to completely prevent drownings.
  • If you have a backyard swimming pool or spa, install a four-sided isolation fence that is equipped with a self-latching gate and a child-proof lock.
  • Have at least one person present who knows cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Remember, drownings can happen in pools, rivers, lakes, bathtubs, spas, oceans, or any other body of water.

At Huffman & Huffman, your family matters and these safety tips are meant to help you protect your children, grandchildren, or children in your care. If your child was harmed in a swimming pool or drowning accident due to negligent supervision, you may have legal grounds to file a claim against the individual or entity responsible. At Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law, PLLC, our attorneys are made up of family members who are dedicated to protecting the rights of families throughout our local communities.

We will do everything in our power to protect what matters most to you. Contact our team at (757) 599-6050 to schedule your free case evaluation today. While our main office is in Newport News, we also have an office in Virginia Beach and serve all Hampton Roads clients.


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