As pool season heats up in many parts of the country, an important safety topic to be aware of is shallow water blackout.
This morning, ABC News’ Good Morning America featured a segment on shallow water blackout, interviewing Tom Griffiths, the renowned aquatic safety expert and one of the experts behind Clarion’s pool safety sign system.
The news report explains how New York City and Santa Barbara, CA, are among the first cities to ban extended breath holding in public pools, showing images of Clarion’s industry-leading No Long Breath Holding safety signs.
What exactly is shallow water blackout – and why is it important for swimmers and aquatic facilities to have an understanding of it? Experts believe that shallow water blackout is a leading cause of swimming-related deaths. It occurs when a person first uses hyperventilation (breathing in and out repeatedly and quickly) and then holds their breath underwater (either while swimming underwater or remaining inactive). That person can, without warning, pass out and then drown. Parents and lifeguards supervising pools often fail to detect any danger or crisis under the water until it’s too late.
The real crisis is that people are often unaware of the dangers associated with long breath holding. When it comes to water safety, education and safety signage can saves lives. An important prevention step advocated by the Shallow Water Blackout Prevention group is the posting of Clarion’s No Long Breath Holding signs at poolside.