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Water Safety: Can you spot someone who is drowning?

Water Safety U.S. Air Force graphic/Corey Parrish

Drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death among children 14 and younger, according to the CDC. About 750 children drown each year, 375 of whom do so within 25 yards of a parent or adult.

Many children drown with adults only yards away!

More startling, the CDC said 10 percent of parents watch their children drown because they don’t know it’s happening. Recognizing the real-life signs of drowning is especially important as the weather gets warmer and we start heading to the beaches and swimming pools to cool off during the hot months of summer.

Could you recognize the sign of a child or adult swimmer in trouble?

This information comes from an article in the Evanston Patch. If you don’t have time to read it all you can check out the highlights below.

Drowning doesn’t always look like you might think it does from seeing it in the movies. Before people drown, they may thrash around in the water — a sign they’re in “aquatic distress,” which may or may not happen before a drowning. They’re normally able to assist in their own rescue by grabbing lifelines, throw rings and other devices.

An Instinctive Drowning victim is often helpless and are unable to call for help.

1. In most circumstances, people are physiologically unable to call for help. The respiratory system is designed for breathing, and speech is a secondary function. “Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs,”

2. A drowning person’s mouth alternately sinks below the surface of the water and then reappears, but the mouth is never above the surface long enough to exhale, inhale and cry for help.

3. Drowning people can’t flag down help. “Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface,” “Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe”.

4. When they’re drowning, people lose control of their arms. They’re struggling to stay afloat in the water, and “cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.”

5. While they’re drowning, people will remain upright in the water, and there’s no evidence of a supporting kick.

Hope you never have to use that information.

Thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students have learned how to improve their personal and situational awareness and to physically defend themselves using a wide variety of Martial Arts techniques.

Self-Defense Classes for Adult Men, Women and teens age 14 and older are taught Tuesday, and Thursday evenings 7:30pm – 8:30 pm. More information can be found at: Fonseca Martial Arts in Evanston

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your child’s high school, college, business, or organization contact me at

Ed Kress
For over 35 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. Along with local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed has developed a program which focuses on teaching personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains as well as their bodies. Ed began his martial arts career when he started wrestling in 8th grade, taking 1st place in the Chicago Park District City Championships. He later wrestled varsity at Mendel Catholic High School where he was a Chicago Catholic League Conference Champion. During his college career at North Park University he was a Conference Champion and 2-time NCAA Div 3 national qualifier. He was on his way to qualifying for the 3rd time when a neck injury ended his college career. His record that year was 17 - 0. He continues to wrestle as Head Freshman Wrestling Coach at Loyola Academy. A position he has held since 2004.

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