It’s not uncommon for amateur, professional and military swimmers to practice holding their breath underwater for extended periods of time as part of their training. But doing so could result in tragedy. Experts believe that a leading cause of swimming-related drowning is a phenomenon known as shallow water blackout. What happens is that when swimmers purposefully hyperventilate taking in a series of breaths, and then hold their breath underwater, their brain can react by not calling for oxygen and they can pass out. When this happens, it happens suddenly, without warning. Shallow water blackout is a silent killer. Swimmers, divers, spear-fishing enthusiasts – they’re all at risk and, tragically, most of them are completely unaware of the danger of shallow water blackout. Even if there are lifeguards supervising the pool, they’re often unable to detect that something is wrong until it’s too late.
Shallow water blackout can be prevented if people are made aware of the dangers of breath holding under water. An important prevention step towards this awareness happens when you install Clarion’s “No Long Breath Holding” sign as part of your pool safety sign system. Our system utilizes the “No Long Breath Holding” message on stand-alone signs and it can be incorporated into ANSI Z535-formatted signs, including multi-hazard signs that combine the most important pool safety messages.
Clarion is a proud water safety partner of the Shallow Water Blackout Prevention group, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of shallow water blackout. The group was established by Rhonda Milner in 2011, following the death of her twenty-five year old son, Whitner, an avid swimmer who had begun to practice breath holding to increase his free diving time because of an interest in spear fishing. The organization aims to increase awareness and promote prevention with the mission of stopping shallow water blackout deaths.