Education and safety signage work hand in hand to save lives. On Labor Day weekend, CNN featured a news segment titled, “Swimming Hazard: Shallow Water Blackout.” In the segment, Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Dr. Rhonda Milner, the chairman and CEO of an organization called Shallow Water Blackout Prevention. The topic is one that is unfamiliar to most people and that needs to change. Shallow water blackout is a silent killer. Dr. Milner’s son, a physically fit, expert underwater spear fisherman, died in the family pool one evening while practicing underwater breath holding. Since that tragic day, Dr. Milner has been committed to the cause of bringing about awareness of the phenomena of shallow water blackout. Her organization has partnered with Clarion Safety Systems to promote a system of safety signage for swimming pools that is aimed at achieving this goal. The new signs explain the hazard and how to avoid it, using a new graphical symbol to convey the message to all age-groups and across language barriers.
What exactly is shallow water blackout – and why is it important for swimmers 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 they drown. Parents and lifeguards supervising pools often fail to detect any danger or crisis under the water until it’s too late. And all for something that seems so harmless….all they did was attempt to hold their breath for a long time.
In the CNN interview, Dr. Milner explains, “One of our primary goals is for there to be signage at all public pools to warn of the dangers of prolonged breath holding.” Clarion’s “No Long Breath Holding” poolside safety signs are featured throughout the CNN news segment.
The “No Long Breath Holding” signs are one element of Clarion’s comprehensive leading-edge pool safety sign system. Learn more about this system and about shallow water blackout prevention by visiting the Clarion website’s water safety and pool safety sign resources.