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How do you perform CPR on a drowned person?

Last Updated on: July 9, 2024

Table of content(s)

  1. Introduction
  2. What is the significance of timely CPR?
  3. What are the signs of drowning?
  4. How do you perform CPR on a drowning victim?
  5. Is CPR performed differently for victims of drowning?
  6. Is online CPR legit?
  7. Conclusion


Drowning is a critical emergency, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation is one of the most significant ways to make a life-or-death difference. Drowning takes place when water enters the lungs. This prevents oxygen from reaching the bloodstream, leading to respiratory failure. It might cause a potential cardiac arrest. Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can help circulate oxygenated blood until professional help arrives. 

CPR for drowning follows the same principles as standard CPR. However, there are a few additional considerations, especially due to the nature of drowning. This involves clearing the airway of debris, initiating chest compressions to pump blood,  and offering rescue breaths.

Knowing when and how to perform these can improve the chances of survival. This helps minimize long-term complications. Learn the techniques for CPR for drowning and act promptly during water-related emergencies.


What is the significance of timely CPR?

Timely cardiopulmonary resuscitation is crucial, as it increases the chances of survival for individuals experiencing cardiac arrest. Here are a few reasons why timely CPR is crucial:

  • Maintain oxygen supply: CPR keeps the blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs. This helps deliver oxygen, which helps prevent brain damage.
  • Preserve heart function: Chest compressions keep the heart pumping blood to the rest of the body. This sustains life until professional help arrives.
  • Prevents brain damage: Brain cells die quickly without oxygen. CPR helps delay this damage and maintain blood circulation. 
  • Increase survival rates: If you initiate CPR quickly, it can increase a person’s chances of survival when administered promptly. 

Read More: What are the different levels of CPR certification training?


What are the signs of drowning?

Drowning is dangerous and an emergency that you must address. Look out for the signs to offer immediate help:

  • Silent: The individual is unable to breathe and calls for help. 
  • Bobbing up and down: The mouth can dip below the surface of the water. The mouth pops up a bit, just enough to breathe. Then it sinks back down. 
  • Stiff-armed: Rather than waving for help, you will see that the person has their arms out to the side. Their hands may be pressed down on the water. They are most likely unable to grab a life preserver. 
  • Still: A drowning person’s body will be still. It will look almost like they are standing in water. You would not see them kicking.

A drowning person can stay this way for 20–60 seconds. If you do not rescue them soon, they will start to sink.


How do you perform CPR on a drowning victim?

So if someone drowns you do CPR? Yes. Performing CPR is a critical skill that can save a life during an emergency. Drowning can lead to respiratory arrest and cardiac failure. Lack of oxygen is dangerous and makes immediate intervention a must. Learn how do you do CPR on someone who drowned:

  • Inspect the scene: Before rushing to the drowned person, check if the scene is safe for you and the victim. 
  • Check for responsiveness: Check if the person is responsive. Tap on the shoulders and call them loudly. If you do not get any response, shout for help. Start CPR promptly.
  • Clear the airway: Tilt the head of the person and opened the airway. Check whether there are any obstructions or not. If present, remove them and ensure that the passage is clear. 
  • Perform chest compressions: Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest. Position your shoulders above your hands and lock your fingers. Perform chest compressions at about 100–120 compressions per minute. This allows the chest to recoil. 

These steps provide immediate and effective care. 


Is CPR performed differently for victims of drowning?

This is a common question in the minds of many individuals. The most important thing to remember is that for anyone who is not breathing, you must start CPR right away. 

  • Call 911 first before trying to rescue a victim. 
  • Rescuers must keep themselves safe while attempting rescue. 

Near-drowning happens when a person is unable to breathe. Just as with other respiratory-based issues, the body shuts down due to a lack of oxygen. This can result in brain damage. Even if a victim has been submerged in water for a long time, CPR may be effective. This is especially true when the water is cold.


Is online CPR legit?

Yes, online CPR is legit, and it is approved by all organizations. It is important to enroll with a reputed course provider. To ensure this, here are a few key points to consider:

  • Accreditation and recognition 
  • Content and curriculum 
  • Certification 
  • Reviews and testimonials 

Read more: Implications of CPR: Can You Get Sued for Performing CPR?



Performing CPR on a drowning victim is critical for their survival. Assess the situation and ensure that it is safe for you and the individual. Only then can we start administering CPR for drowning. Begin compressions and rescue breaths to improve the recovery chances. Prompt intervention makes a difference, especially during emergencies such as drowning. Remember, every second counts, so act before it is too late.

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