One Man Drowns and Another Is Critically Injured at a Public Pool on Staten Island

A 21-year-old man who was participating in a lap swim program at a public pool on Staten Island drowned Wednesday morning, and a second man in the same pool, an off-duty city lifeguard in his early 20s, was in critical condition after nearly drowning, officials said. Read more from the NY Times ...

The dangers of breath holding underwater are now well documented and unfortunately stories about deaths related to “Shallow Water Blackout” are all too frequent.

Shallow water blackout is a big problem in swimming pools as well as for free divers in the ocean. Because our primary focus is on swimming pool safety and lifeguarding, we want to emphasize here that the following should not be allowed in swimming pools:

  • Breath holding games, of any kind, including where young children take turns holding their breath in front of each other, often while standing up in the pool
  • Any kind of contests or competitions to see who can swim the farthest underwater
  • Individuals trying to see how far they can swim underwater or how long they can hold their breath
  • Hyperventilation before going underwater
  • “Dead Man’s Float”

Additionally, when a lifeguard sees someone lying on the bottom of the pool, even if they appear to be playing or relaxing, they must immediately activate the EAP, enter the pool and retrieve the person from underwater. By acting quickly you could save a life and delaying could cost a life.

There are several very good sources for information, including:

Dying for Air

Shallow Water Blackout Prevention