When former Glee
actress Naya Rivera drowned
a few months ago, we addressed the story in a blog post. As tragic as the tale was, it also served as a teachable moment for the rest of us. Drowning danger is all too common and can affect anyone at any time. Now, more details are emerging about Naya’s final moments. According to a report from CNN, her four-year-old son told investigators that she screamed for help
before she drowned. The poor boy was alone on the boat while this horrible tragedy occurred. Today, let’s discuss how quickly drowning can occur and how to prevent something like this from happening to you or someone you love.
The Naya Rivera Drowning Story
Before we begin, let’s briefly summarize what we’ve learned about this particular tragedy. In July, Rivera and her son rented a pontoon boat before heading out onto a lake in California. After boating around for a while, the two decided to hop into the water for a swim. At some point, trouble stirred in the water and Rivera got into trouble. Using the last of her strength, she was able to save her child’s life, pushing him onto the boat. According to her son, she cried out for help before sinking under the waves.
"She helped him onto the boat and he then heard (his mother) yell 'help' and she put her arm in the air," the report said. "She then disappeared into the water."
It is with a heavy heart that we share this story of drowning danger again. This is a tragedy, plain and simple. It’s the story of a young mother who sacrificed her life to protect her little one. The point of focusing on this tragedy is to prevent it from happening to someone else.
Drowning Danger is Rarely Loud
In this case, Naya Rivera reportedly was able to loudly struggle in the water. Sadly, this was to no avail. It is important to note that screaming and thrashing isn’t often an option for people who find themselves in drowning danger. The truth is, drowning is often silent and quick. When someone is struggling in the water, much of their energy goes towards trying to get to the top of the water. For far too many swimmers, they may never reach the surface in time. For people who may be nearby, this means that this drowning may go unnoticed. This is because drowning doesn’t result in a lot of thrashing or calling for help. Rather, people on land may see a friend seemingly swimming without worry.
Drowning Prevention is a Group Effort
Drowning only takes a short amount of time. Without assistance or immediate CPR, death can come swiftly to the victim. Before you head out, whether it is the pool, beach or boat… keep in mind that drowning is often a silent killer. It pays for every member of your party to pay attention to your surroundings.
Additionally, never swim alone. The buddy system
can make sure that every person in the water has a partner that’s capable of calling for help if drowning danger should arise.
Life Jackets Save Lives
Finally, let’s talk about the life jacket situation in the Naya Rivera story. According to investigators, the boy was wearing a life preserver. Naya, unfortunately, was not. Reportedly, Rivera was offered a life jacket by the pontoon boat rental service, but declined. This was sadly a fatal mistake.
The fact is, if you are heading out onto open water, you should wear a United States Coast Guard approved life jacket
. This is the case even if you are an experienced swimmer. All life jackets and floatation devices are not created equally
, so be sure to use one that fits all of the proper safety criteria. As this all-too-tragic story shows, it could mean the difference between life and death.