Ten people die from accidental drowning each day in the United States. Learn how to recognize the signs so you can help keep your loved ones safe.
Drowning looks different than most people think. You may not hear someone calling for help. In fact, it's more typical that a drowning victim is quiet — if you can't breathe, you can't speak.
Contrary to popular belief, drowning people don't go underwater and stay there. Instead, drowning victims sink and then may bob up, typically with not enough time to breathe and call for help. In fact, sometimes the struggle is very short — just 20 seconds or so — making quick help essential.
It's also a myth that someone who is drowning waves his or her arms frantically. If you are drowning, your body is focused on helping you survive, so voluntary arm movements are difficult, if not impossible. In most cases, drowning people are vertical, not horizontal, and they try to use their arms to press on the water, which may help give them a boost in the water to get a full breath. They may also be unable to swim or grab any rescue equipment and may try to float on their backs.
Everyone in water distress reacts differently. Some may indicate they need help by yelling and gesturing wildly; if so, respond. Be extra tuned in when you hear quiet — especially from children. Since drowning can happen quickly and silently, it is important to closely supervise children in the water at all times.
State Farm™ (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.