The Drowning Child: Tips to Save their Life

“Help! Help!! Help!!! My brother is drowning!” 

Johnson had been sunbathing on the beach when he heard the young boy shriek. He recognized him immediately. Earlier that day, he had noticed that the children weren’t placed under much supervision. Even at the time of the event, the parents were nowhere to be found. 

Thankfully, the drowning boy was rescued and cared for by good-hearted strangers. 

Saving a Drowning Child – What you should do 

Children have a lot of energy and are willing to explore many fun situations. That is why they should never be left unsupervised. It takes just a few minutes for a mishap to occur. If you ever come across a drowning child, here are the necessary steps to take: 

Call for help (call local emergency or notify any lifeguard in sight). If by any chance you’re alone, then follow the steps stated below: 

  • Remove the child from the water and place them on a firm flat surface. 
  • Tilt the child’s head down with one hand and lift their chin with the other. Put your ear near the child’s nose or mouth to check for breathing. 
  • If they’re not breathing, you need to do a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation where you exhale air into the child’s mouth. 
  • Check if the chest rises after the breaths. Then, check for a pulse. Checking for a pulse requires placing two fingers (preferably the index and middle fingers) on the upper side of the neck beside the windpipe or throat. Or, you can check the armpit of a baby. 


If the chest doesn’t rise, then repeat the whole process above. 

  • If you find a pulse, you can continue giving the child one breath per three seconds. Ensure you check for a pulse as every minute passes. Continue the rescue breathing until the child can breathe fine on their own. 
  • If you can’t find a pulse, you need to begin CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation). CPR is a medical procedure that combines chest compressions and artificial/ assisted ventilation (breathing). You need a cycle of 30 chest compressions with two mouth-to-mouth breaths for an adult, and 15 compressions with two mouth-to-mouth breaths for a child.  

What to consider while saving a drowning child 

The age of a child is the most vital thing to consider. 

1. If the child is a baby or infant: 

  • Avoid tilting their head too much. 
  • Then, you have to place your mouth on the baby’s nose and mouth during rescue breathing. Ensure that your mouth forms a tight seal such that no air escapes. 
  • Place two fingers on the baby’s breastbone during chest compression. Be careful and don’t push too hard as the bones aren’t as strong and developed as adult bones.


For babies or infants, push just about 4cm. Make about 100-120 compressions per minute and stop after each 30-compression interval to administer rescue breathing. 

2. For older kids; 

  • You have to pinch the nose closed and place your mouth on theirs for rescue breathing. 
  • For chest compressions, you can use the heels of your hand on the middle of the child's chest, at the level of the nipples. 
  • Push about 5cm for older children. Make about 100-120 compressions per minute and stop after each 30-compression interval to administer rescue breathing. 

Note: Ensure the chest comes up before compressing it again.  

Do not let a drowning child wait for professional help to arrive. They could lose their life waiting; start these life-saving steps as soon as possible to save the victim’s life.  

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