(WUSA/KARE)-- Veteran wimming instructor Jon Foss asked student Jack Dahlgren to demonstrate the dynamics of an actual drowning incident for WUSA 9' sister station, KARE 11 in Minneapolis. He says the reality of drowning deaths is often far different from what we've seen depicted in movies or TV shows.
Foss says children should be taught to look from side to side when they begin to encounter trouble, so they can find the shore or side of the pool.
What they often do instead is to look upward, which then allows water to enter their nostrils. Things can go downhill quickly from there.
"This is what a child would look like in the moment before they drown," Foss told KARE, as Jack tilted his head back and let the water cover most of his face, exhaled and began to sink.
"He'd be struggling very hard to just hold his face just barely above water and in that moment, he would just go under the water."
Foss says it takes a lot of strength and a good supply of air to bob around in the water, yell and scream. In most cases, the drowning victim has exhausted his supply of air and run out of energy to fight.
As Jack slipped under the surface there was no commotion and virtually no noise beyond the ambient sound of other swimmers nearby.
"It made no sound. That's the whole point," Foss remarked. "You have to always watch with your eyes. You have to be vigilant."
Foss noted that in Australia the public safety campaign is more direct, with the slogan "Kids Can Drown Without a Sound."
He maintains that every child and every adult can be taught to swim, but that parents shouldn't have a false sense of security about children in the water simply because they've had lessons.
Many safety advocates recommend designating at 'water watcher' at pool parties or beach gatherings. Adults take turns committing to stay solely focused on keeping track of young swimmers, undistracted by books, phones, etc.