Shallow Water Blackout Video | 3:09

It's a hidden danger in pools called shallow water blackout, which happens when a person holds their breath under water for too long. And as INSIDE EDITION's investigation found, the results can be fatal.


Another case highlighting the dangers of breath holding games in pools and why it is so important to warn parents & pool patrons of the dangers and better train lifeguards. This is the type of tragedy we are trying to avoid through our petition...please check out this article and the petition link on this page.
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  • Underwater breath holding has been a common pool game for years

  • Hyperventilation or taking deep breaths before diving underwater can be DEADLY


The primary urge to breath or exhale is rising CO2 levels…NOT a need for Oxygen as you might suspect
Hyperventilation or taking deep breaths artificially reduces CO2 levels
This allows for a delay of the urge to breath or come up for air and leaves the swimmer at risk of losing unconsciousness without even knowing it or feeling any warning signs
Essentially, your brain never triggers your body to come up for air…instead, you suffer a sudden loss of consciousness

Shallow Water Blackout affects the physically-fit swimmer, but an affect anyone breath-holding underwater. People who hold their breath while swimming or practicing breath-holding underwater in pools are at risk of "passing out" due to lack of oxygen. It frequently occurs WITHOUT ANY WARNING of its onset. In fact, because of the hypoxia one feels euphoric and empowered to continue breath-holding. Unlike regular drowning where there can be 6-8 minutes before brain damage and death, there is ONLY about 2 minutes before BRAIN DAMAGE then DEATH with SWB. It can occur in any body of water when breath-holding, with or without lifeguards present. Shallow Water Blackout is hard to detect from above the water. Shallow Water Blackout occurs because of LACK OF EDUCATION and understanding of the dangers of breath-holding. Lack of safety training for swimmers, freedivers, snorkelers, and spearfisherman also contribute to the frequency of Shallow Water Blackout.
When oxygen levels fall to critical levels, blackout is instantaneous and frequently occurs without warning. Carbon dioxide levels in the blood are primarily responsible for the swimmer's desire to breathe. When the level of carbon dioxide in the blood is driven to artificially low levels as a result of hyperventilation or excessive breath-holding activities, the desire ro breathe is dimished. This artificial method of fooling the body into thinking it does not need oxygen is deadly, as it lures the breath-holder into believing he can hold his breath longer than he safely can.

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