First aid and water safety information
Considerations should include:
- the person’s epilepsy;
- their age;
- their abilities;
- any other disabilities;
- the swimming/activity location;
- support person to help supervise/assist in an emergency
Supervision ensures safety!
Supervision ensures people with epilepsy can participate safely in water activities. Even those with well-controlled epilepsy should NEVER swim alone. Important things to consider about supervision include:
- a dedicated 1:1 spotter or swimming companion if possible;
- people with uncontrolled epilepsy should have two people accompany them-one should remain in the pool and one as a spotter outside the pool;
- companion/spotter should maintain constant supervision, eye contact and/or stay within an arm’s reach of the person with epilepsy at all times;
- companion/spotters should be aware of the person’s seizure types and appropriate first aid
General water safety recommendations
- ALWAYS seek advice from your doctor before swimming
- inform any lifeguard of the potential risk of a seizure occurring
- wear a brightly covered swimming cap/costume to help ensure easy identification
- avoid resting on the edge of a body of water
- swimming programs may require a letter from your doctor/an epilepsy management plan
- liaise with your school about swimming lessons and supervision for child/ren living with epilepsy
- if you have uncontrolled seizures you should consider wearing a safety vest/lifejacket– see Maritime Safety Queensland
First aid for seizures for occurring in water
A seizure in water is a life-threatening situation. In certain situations, a loss of consciousness is especially dangerous and emergency care must go beyond the routine procedures.
If someone is having a seizure in water e.g. bath, swimming pool or ocean::
- Support the person in the water with the head tilted so the face and head stay above the surface.
- Remove the person from the water as soon as the active movements of the seizure have ceased.
- Check to see whether the person is breathing and whether they have a pulse. If they are not breathing but have a pulse start mouth to mouth resuscitation and immediately call 000 / 112.
- Even if the person appears to be fully recovered, call an ambulance. The person should have a full medical check as inhaling water can cause lung or heart damage.