Do not panic if you fall in the water
On the 13th and 14th of July, before summer vacation when water accidents are most prevalent, the Red Cross Kanagawa Chapter held “Parent-child Rescue” water safety training courses at Umino Koen in Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama.
“If you fall in the water, look at the sky, breathe deeply and float. Do you know why you have to breathe at that moment?” “So that air can enter your body,” one of the children said. “That’s right! When it’s filled with air, your body easily floats, the same as a flotation device.”
After listening to this explanation from the instructor, the participants entered the water fully clothed. Some children, who were floating on their back for the first time, did not do well due to fear. However, they tried to be brave and succeeded in floating. They also experienced how holding onto a PET bottle or an unopened plastic bag of snacks or chips could help them float more easily and safely.
The focus of the water safety training course was on “fully-clothed swimming,” simulating the case in which a person falls into the water while wearing clothes. The children, who had entered the water wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, said, one after another, “It was like wetting the bed.” “My clothes got heavy.”
Through this training, they came to remember the advice of the instructor, who said, “It’s difficult to move, isn’t it? So don’t thrash about because doing so is dangerous. Instead, calmly float on your back while waiting for someone to rescue you. Do you understand?” “Yes!” the children eagerly replied.
One of the parents said, “My child is able to swim as he goes to the swimming school, but I’m afraid he has too much confidence in his swimming ability. It’s good for him to experience the difficulty of swimming while wearing clothes. Another parent, who was taking the course for the second consecutive year, said, “We take this course in case anything should happen, for there’s a pond in our neighborhood. The course is attractive because we rarely experience falling in the water from a boat or swimming fully-clothed.”
Ms. Mieko Masuda, the lead instructor, said, “Eighty percent of water accidents occur when the person is wearing clothes. If you feel anxious or scared, you may drown. I’d like a lot of people to try fully-clothed swimming at the water safety training course so that they can cope with the situation without panicking.”