Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

Do you know what drowning really looks like?   It’s nothing like we expect from watching movies!   Reading the article below last year meant that when it actually happened right in front of me this year – I recognized it, and was able to act fast enough to rescue.   Since then, customers have shared two stories of near drowning with parent rescues in swim classes! Please please please – read this, and pass the link on.   We are easily bombarded with ‘child danger’ bits – yet THIS info is practical, immediate & urgent!   May all your summers be sweet & safe.  Look for ‘drown-proofing your child’ classes in your area.

Lifeguards role in preventing childhood drowning

You can be watching, and still not know someone is going down

By Keith O’Brien Globe Correspondent  |  August 8, 2010
THE SCENE in the popular imagination is almost always the same. A swimmer in the water — typically a child or a young woman in a bikini — calls out for help, splashing and screaming for a lifeguard. The swimmer is drowning. Of this, there is no doubt. And depending on the narrative, one of two things happens next: After more splashing and screaming, the swimmer will drown. Or the lifeguards will hear the person’s calls for help and make a daring rescue.

It’s a dramatic, often horrifying, moment, depicted in television and film again and again. And thanks to these pop culture portrayals, it’s what we look for while we’re at the beach or the pool. We think we know what drowning looks like. Surely, we’d be able to spot the signs. But what if we’re wrong? What if it’s possible to be an attentive parent and still not see that a child is drowning? What if the reality — the truth about how a drowning victim really goes down — is far scarier, and more silent, than we’ve been led to believe?

Four decades ago, Francesco A. Pia — then a young lifeguard on one of New York City’s busiest beaches — began exploring that very idea and came to some startling conclusions. He paid a student to train a 16mm movie camera on his beach, filming near-drownings and rescues. When he analyzed the results he found that Hollywood’s version of what happens in a drowning was complete fiction. And far more alarming than that, he found that water safety experts had it wrong, too. There is, in fact, almost never any shouting or waving involved with a drowning. Quietly and quickly, usually without a word to anyone, people struggling to stay afloat slip beneath the surface of the water — gone, sometimes, in cases involving children, in 20 seconds.

“It’s the rule rather than the exception,” Pia said, “that a drowning person is often surrounded by people who are unaware that a drowning is taking place. We had one case where a boy was drowning — he was probably about 12 years old — and there was a man side-stroking right in front of him. You can see the boy’s eyes tracking him as the man is swimming and he just keeps going by. This is not a case of the side-stroker not caring. He simply did not know that the boy was drowning.”

Pia’s findings, released in an instructional video called “On Drowning” in 1971, didn’t initially revolutionize water safety. One longtime expert said Pia’s views were so unorthodox at the time that many dismissed both him and his film. But in fact his conclusions echoed an earlier study which looked at 248 near-drownings. That study, done in 1966, reported that in nearly one-third of the cases the victims provided the lifeguards with little or no sign that they were in trouble. And ultimately, the water safety industry came full circle on Pia. In recent years, he has literally written the textbook on preventing drownings. Today his findings are widely accepted as fact, and he is considered the go-to expert on the topic by organizations like the American Red Cross.

But despite Pia’s efforts to spread the word over the years — first to lifeguards and later to the public — most beachgoers and parents still have no idea how to spot someone struggling in the water. Raised on the movies and, of course, “Baywatch,” we’re often looking for drama, thrashing, and panic. But the truth is, Pia said, we could be looking right at someone who’s drowning, even a loved one, and not think twice about it.

It is every parent’s summertime horror and, this summer, it has come to both Lynnfield and Brockton. Last month, twin sisters, not even 3 years old, drowned in Lynnfield after somehow managing to slip unnoticed into the family’s backyard swimming pool. And just last week, 4-year-old twin sisters in Brockton did the same.

Such tragedies, according to studies by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, account for more than 200 deaths every year. And parents, seeking to assure themselves that such a thing could never happen to their family, tend to blame inattentive parenting as the real cause.

Certainly, that’s a key issue. But even parents who believe they are paying attention while their children are swimming spend too much time texting or talking to friends, according to longtime water safety consultant Gerry Dworkin. And even if they are engaged and watching, he said, they are often watching for the wrong thing.

“They may be looking for somebody who’s actively struggling in the water, with the victim calling for help, waving for help, and so forth,” said Dworkin, vice president of Lifesaving Resources Inc., a New Hampshire-based water safety consulting and training company. “And drowning victims don’t look like that. To an untrained observer, a drowning victim looks like they are playing in the water when, in fact, they’re engaged in a life or death struggle.”

Statistically speaking, drowning is a rare occurrence. In 2007, the last year with complete data, the Centers for Disease Control recorded 682 drowning deaths among children under age 15. And yet, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children in that age bracket, just behind car accidents. Among children under the age of 5, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death, according the CDC, far more likely than other things that parents routinely fear: fires, suffocation, poison, even guns. And on Pia’s beach in the Bronx, drowning wasn’t all that unusual. By the Fourth of July every summer at Orchard Beach, he said, at least two people, maybe more, would have drowned.

Pia had been taught to spot potential drowning victims, he said, by looking for “convulsive agitation” in the water. But he soon realized that most near-drowning victims agitated very little whatsoever, and rarely called for help. Instead, they exhibited something that he called the instinctive drowning response.

In his grainy, color footage gathered at Orchard Beach, the victims time and again flap their arms at their side, as if trying to use the surface of the water as a platform. They go vertical in the water, straight up and down, angling their airways toward the oxygen. And the goal, he pointed out, is not yelling for help — that almost never happens — but something far more primal: just breathing for as long as possible.

“They are trying to avoid suffocating in water,” Pia said. “And the elegance of this particular theory is that whether they’re male or female, old or young, heavy or thin, African-American, Caucasian, or Hispanic; whether they’re drowning by themselves, drowning with another person, drowning with three people, or even, in one case, we had four people on film drowning — the same arm movements are there, the same body position, the same activity. So this is instinctive. Hence the term ‘instinctive drowning response.’”

These days, from the shores of American beaches to the offices at the CDC, lifeguards and policy makers know better what to expect from a drowning victim. Even if they are not taught the term that Pia coined, instinctive drowning response, they are taught the central idea: that drowning victims will not likely wave or yell for help; that they will look like they are “climbing a ladder” in the water; and that the struggle, much to a parent’s horror, will not last long.

“Most children don’t even understand what’s happening to them, particularly young children,” said Dr. Julie Gilchrist, a pediatrician by training and a medical epidemiologist at the CDC. “And that’s why we warn parents of young children that drowning occurs very quickly and very quietly. Descriptions from children who have survived a near-drowning say, ‘I went underwater and I went to sleep.’ They just don’t understand what’s happening.”

This knowledge, Gilchrist said, helps explains the typical response we often hear in the aftermath of a drowning: “He was there one minute and I turned around and he was gone.” Victims, especially young children, can drown in 20 to 60 seconds, Dworkin said, and it’s not only parents who fail to see that someone’s drowning. Sometimes, Dworkin said, trained lifeguards sitting right there miss it, too.

“I’ve had several major cases where the victim has been in distress — and you can see it on the security video camera footage,” said Dworkin, who also works as a forensics expert in drowning cases. “But after the distress, the victim has been unconscious at or below the surface of the water for six or eight minutes, and the lifeguards failed to recognize that there was a problem.”

One such case involves a 4-year-old named Jonathan “Yoni” Gottesman. In August 2005, he attended a day camp at an athletic club outside Santa Barbara, Calif. Near the end of his first day there, he and other campers hit the pool, where, according to grainy security tape footage shown at the civil trial and posted on Yoni’s memorial page on the Internet, one counselor dunked Yoni and other children multiple times.

As the counselor and the other children swam away, continuing the game, Yoni swam toward the pool’s edge, but could not make it and soon stopped swimming altogether. For the next eight minutes, no one in the crowded pool noticed the limp body of the little boy floating face down in the water. Not his fellow campers, not the counselors, not even the lifeguards — negligence that is almost inexplicable, and which led to Yoni’s death and, just last year, to a $16 million jury verdict against those charged with watching him that day.

But lost in the shocking outcome is a moment that is subtler, but almost as frightening to a parent. It comes in the video footage as Yoni tries to keeping swimming, to keep up with the others. One moment, the 4-year-old appears to be paddling, pushing through the water and toward the wall, toward safety. And the next moment, literally a few seconds later, he’s not moving at all. Just like that, the little boy stops breathing and begins to drown.

Freelance writer Keith O’Brien, winner of the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, is a former staff writer for the Globe.—– List usage guidelines:  http://listserv.dartmouth.edu/Archives/LYME/lymelistnetiquette.htm

Sunday, July 10, 2011-Becoming the Person You Wish to Be!

Journeys with Oz

Ann Arbor Events with International Speaker/Teacher Ardis Ozborn

Are your ready for an adventure?

Are you ready to take a deeper look at the road you are currently traveling?

Maybe it’s time to click your heels and invite Ardis to join your journey!

As a well traveled guide, Ardis steps right into the middle of wherever you are in your struggle and starts putting the pathway together right along with you: yellow brick by yellow brick. In these guided explorations, Ardis works organically, pulling from a long-acquired wealth of knowledge, skills and resources to help you identify some of the obstacles you are facing. She will draw your attention to exactly what is operating behind the curtains of your psyche, and show you how to get back to the “great and powerful” position of pulling your own levers in life.

Ardis Ozborn

If you feel you’re lacking the brains, heart or courage

To reach your destination,

It may be time to take a journey with Oz!

See more about Journeys with Oz

Ardis Ozborn has been studying energy & systems of energy for 20 years, and in her journey events shares what she has learned with you!

Everyday Abundance

Are you weary of stressing over bills, health or the state of the world? Come join a transformative evening to ‘reset’ your inner compass to smoothly accomplish your goals & desires!

Tuesday, July 5th 7:00 – 9:00 pm $25 preregistered/$30 door

Becoming the Person You Want To Be

Let’s take an afternoon for ourselves, removing barriers and & gaining insight to staying centered through busy, changing times such as parenting, aging, job challenges and more!

Sunday, July 10th 2:00 – 4:00 pm $25 preregistered/$30 door

Preregister:  734.994.8010 or Beth@VisitIndigo.com

Hosted by Beth Barbeau, Resonance Repatterning Practitioner

Held at Indigo Forest:  Growing Healthy Naturally

4121 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI  48103


Spring toys

We have a policy of only carrying toys that WE want to play with!   This spring we have a growing collection of silky skirts, cloths, fairy wings, head bands, dragon silk costume cape, sparkly pink ‘dress-up shoes’,  magic wands and more.  Magical treasures abound….and not only for the wee ones.  Check out our crystals, 7-stone healing chakra wands, and other treats for the healers among us.

Indigo’s New Health Club!

Join the Indigo Forest

Health Club!

Practical 1-hour *Saturday classes

*10:00-11:00 am: Class,

11:00-11:30 am: Q & A.

Wish you felt more confident using natural remedies?  Are you eager to try natural health solutions, but feel unsure about the next step?

We are offering a new series of classes to celebrate Indigo’s 4th year of empowering healthy families!  In a handy, information-packed hour, we’ll take your knowledge & confidence to the next level!

Beth & Juliana will help you build your naturopathic foundation,

suitable for beginners and intermediate level students alike.

If you’ve ever been that customer that always wanted to know more,

or wants to use the remedies you have with more assurance,

these mornings are for you!

Saturday May 14

Natural First Aid & Your Car Travel Kit: Everyday Basics (Emotional upsets, bumps & bruises, cuts, & punctures)

Saturday May 28

Natural First Aid & Your Car Travel Kit: Seasonal (Sunburn, bites, stings, heat exhaustion, hypothermia, food poisoning)

*Thursday June 2nd, 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Fevers in the Family: Prevention, Understanding & Management.  (Afternoon series is Young family oriented, bring your babies, your floor blankets and your sense of humor!)

Saturday June 11

Essential Oils – Top 10 oils, uses & applications

Saturday June 25

Cell Salts: A Part of Homeopathy Mineral combinations that are some of the most versatile in your medicine chest!

Saturday July 16

Healthy Homes – Lessening the toxic burden – startling information on indoor air quality, antibacterial soap, and mulitpurpose products (good for both home AND body!) 

$10 per person when preregistered prior to Friday 6 pm.

(734) 994.8010,

$15 drop-in’s welcome.

10% topic products same day for class students!

Traditional Food Ways for Families

Want to improve your family’s diet, but don’t know where to start?

Join our community of parents, children & friends as we support one another on a journey to eat whole, traditional food while honoring our bodies, animals, plants and minerals. This Weston Price-inspired class meets at Indigo Forest on Tuesday mornings from 9:30 – 10:15 am, followed by a discussion group 10:15 – 11:45 am. Taught by Kate VanHorn, mother, doula and student of nutrition and naturopathy and guest speakers, Traditional Food Ways for Families is a chance to discover how we are able to make space for Traditional Food Ways in our modern hectic lives.   In each weekly class, learn about a facet of traditional foods, together building a community of other families in pursuit of the same food goals.  While sharing our experience, kitchens and gardens, we aspire to eventually exchange batches of food while healing our bodies and our children!

During the transition, Traditional Food can be overwhelming.  Therefore, classes are taught in ‘nuggets’ of information so as to have plenty of time to assimilate and incorporate the new foods and rituals in to your home. Children are welcome & encouraged to attend with you as this is a community pursuit.

Traditional Food requires traditional community and traditional nourishment of the soul; together we build our future!

Future topics include:

Basics of Traditional Foods ~ Food, Rituals & Traditions ~ Traditional Fats & Oils ~ Seasonal Eating & Picky Kids ~ Full Moon Feast ~ Dairy for Kids ~ Supplements for the Traditional Diet ~ GAPS Diet for Kids ~ Sugar Crisis with Children ~ Best First Foods for Baby ~ Buddy-up & Food Buyer’s Clubs ~ and MORE!

Cost:   Class $5-10 sliding scale; Discussion group free.

Our Mama Circle

Feeling isolated?  Mothering is a complex, challenging, amazing journey….and one that we often travel alone, or alone with our parenting partners & mates.   Such a lonely journey does not serve our children, our selves or our community.  Come join Jahmanna Selassie,  doula, aspiring midwife, massage therapist, mother of 6, and a growing group of fast friends and mothers all.   This free group gathers at Indigo Forest on Thursdays at 9:30 for community & tea, topic presented at 10:00am,  discussion wraps up @ 11:00 am. Children are welcome as you attend & parent them. 

Events and Topics for Fall, 2011

Sept. 15 Managing Family Illness

Come learn and share tricks to maintain family health, home remedies, and fun ways to support little ones in healing- through tea parties in the bath tub and other tips to help the medicine go down!

Sept. 22 Education Pathways

One of the most important decisions that affects our children is their educational journey, be it public school, home school or other alternative educational options. We will discuss what is out there as far as choices and all the ups and downs of each path in a light hearted discussion.

Sept. 29 Open, Share, Review, Reflect

A relaxing opportunity to share thoughts, concerns & ideas relating to recent topics and our mothering journey in the safe space of the Mama Circle.

Oct. 6 Birth Talk: Mama to Mama-to-Be

In the past, women would have seen, heard or experienced birth a few times before they themselves prepare to make their own journey.  Join the circle of mamas and mamas-to-be to discuss and share our birth stories & postpartum insights.

Oct. 13 The Work of Mama Juggling

“Every mama is a working mama,” and the responsibility of balancing nurturing both your family and your self remains whether you are a mama who works inside and/or outside of the home. Come fill your cup with warm tea, and your spirit with warm thoughts of compassion and support.

Oct. 20 Baby’s First Food After Milk

Join our discussion on the new adventures of eating solid foods, to include homemade baby food recipes and ‘tricks of the trade’.

Oct. 27 Open, Share, Review, Reflect

A relaxing opportunity to share thoughts, concerns & ideas relating to recent topics and our mothering journey in the safe space of the Mama Circle.

Nov. 3 Cool & Easy Felt Toy Projects

Creativity is the one of the nutrients that feeds the bodies of our children. Come create with us a simple felt toy to spark the imagination of your child and feed your soul as well. Modest material fee required.

Nov. 10 Baby Yoga with Carrie Honroe

Come move, stretch & rejuvenate your body while nourishing your bond with your baby, this class was one of our most popular last year.  Lovingly taught by Carrie Honroe of Evolve Yoga Studio.

Nov. 17 Seasonal Traditions & Meditations

As world citizens we have so much to share about the cultural traditions that enrich our lives. Please share what makes things special for your family as the holiday season begins.

Dec. 1st Handmade Gift Idea

In preparation for the holiday season, come exchange ideas for making meaningful gifts for family and friends, because nothing is more precious than a gifts made and given by loving hands.

Dec. 8 The Give-Me’s: Navigating Holiday Desires with Our Children & Our Relatives

Come join us for a discussion on what makes this time of year special to you, and coping strategies when for those frustrating times when things go astray.

Dec. 15 Stress Relief: Staying Cool Through the Holidays

For many, the Holiday season is about giving, friendship and family, while simultaneously a speeding of time & even more demands for mamas.  Come tuck a new coping strategy in your pocket to more fully enjoy the holidays.

SATURDAY MAMA CIRCLE:  12: – 1:30 pm

Events and Topics for Fall, 2011

Sept. 17 Managing Family Illness

Come learn and share tricks to maintain family health, home remedies, and fun ways to support little ones in healing- through tea parties in the bath tub and other tips to help the medicine go down!

Oct. 12 The Work of Mama Juggling

“Every mama is a working mama,” and the responsibility of balancing nurturing both your family and your self remains whether you are a mama who works inside and/or outside of the home. Come fill your cup with warm tea, and your spirit with warm thoughts of compassion and support.

Nov. 19 Seasonal Traditions & Meditations

As world citizens we have so much to share about the cultural traditions that enrich our lives. Please share what makes things special for your family as the holiday season begins.

Dec. 17 Stress Relief: Staying Cool Through the Holidays

For many, the Holiday season is about giving, friendship and family, while simultaneously a speeding of time & even more demands for mamas.  Come tuck a new coping strategy in your pocket to more fully enjoy the holidays.

Get Ready For Rainy Spring Fun!

Why would Indigo Forest carry rain coats?  Or carry on about raincoats?!  And especially children’s PVC-free raingear from Europe, that you’ll want to order by February 10th for Spring puddles?

We’re all about happy & healthy, and stomping around in rainy Michigan weather without getting chilled and damp is kid heaven!  Generations of mothers have known that when their children get a good dose of fresh air in the morning, that they sleep nice and deep at night.

For the younger child, outdoor play can be one of the most essential periods for developmental growth in their day. Outdoors a child is free to explore, experiment, imagine and problem-solve.  Time and space are different, and it’s ok to be strong and loud and squishy and all sorts of things that sometimes don’t go over very well indoors.   With every plopped rock or dragged stick, children are learning about their bodies, their world, and every little aspect of biology, physics, geography, mathematics, and more!

Unstructured physical play is well-known to be a most developmentally appropriate outlet for reducing stress in children’s lives. Common sense as well as respected research tell us that physical activity improves attention spans,  helps develop healthy lifestyle habits and can calm and soothe restless children.   Under age seven, children are primed to learn through imitation and physical interaction & activity – and experiencing weather & the seasons through their senses are a big part of this healthy development.

Back to raingear – it’s hard to find gear that kids can put on themselves (think firemans overalls), that are free of over 100 toxic chemicals commonly found in other gear, that are cute and sturdy, and best of all, make splashing in puddles fun for both kids and parents!

Puddlegear is all of these things.  They even have rain mittens, which see four season use around our Midwest household!    Check out the Puddlegear selection on line, or in the catalog you’ll find at by our Puddlegear display at the store, then make your order with us (you can also call it in – 734.994.8010).  This Spring we want everyone to get outside – so 5% off all orders (prepaid), 20% off your second piece, and we’ll be ready for the learning, I mean the fun, to begin!

Breastfeeding Seminar-Tell Your Doula!


Supporting Happy Healthy Nursing Relationships

With Beth Bailey Barbeau, Midwife, Indigo Forest Founder

& Instructor in NITE Holistic Labor Companion Program

While breastfeeding is the most ‘natural thing in the world’, it’s no longer ‘coming naturally’ to many mother-baby pairs. In this seminar suitable for both student & professional, find out why ‘normal’ births are creating obstacles to satisfying breastfeeding, how to counsel families for early success, and the essentials of a satisfying breastfeeding relationship.  Emphasizing both naturopathic & practical problem-solving, we’ll detail a wide range of responses to common concerns – come prepared to take your skills & confidence to a whole new level!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

9 am – 5 pm

Naturopathic Community Center

503 E. Broadway, Mt. Pleasant, MI  48858

$89 per person

Call 989-773-3636 to Register

“I feel like I have a huge knowledge base on breastfeeding even though I have never breastfed.”

“My confidence in my ability to help nursing mothers has increased dramatically!”

“As someone who had taken lactation education training classes before, I thought I wouldn’t learn much new information – I was wrong! Thanks so much!”

Was Rudolph Pregnant?

Do we take things too seriously? Perhaps this will bring you a much needed laugh amidst holiday stress….

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.  Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY ‘historical’ rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a female.  And probably pregnant as well.

So, to all you multi-tasking Moms out there!   Think of those pregnant reindeer, hauling the jolly fat man and his load all around the world in one night, not getting lost, and probably cursing that baby on their bladder……   Blessings on all the hard-working mothers the world over!

Rudolph-Approved! Wholesome gifts from the North Pole (and Ann Arbor!!)

Not to be Abominably Alarming or anything, but it is now just 72 hours until Christmas Morning! If your opportunity to create meaningful gifts has somehow slipped away from you, why not slip over to Indigo Forest?  We’ve taken pains to search out special treasures for all ages……..from sweetly carved barnyard animals by Ann Arbor Artisans to beautiful children’s books shipped from England. We still have many stocking stuffers like “Sticky Stones (magnetized ‘stones’ in a bright bag of your choice, great for car rides!) and pocket puzzles (remember Grandpa’s little metal twists?) and the award-winning “Think-A-Lots” (amazing bag of quality trinkets, 15 possible games, and a guaranteed easier waiting time for your family this year at restaurants, doctors’ offices, and everywhere else.)

Perhaps you have an accident-prone friend or someone moving away from home?  We have sturdy Naturopathic First Aid kits at Half-Off, and Kleen Kanteen bottles at two-for-one.   Perhaps you need $3 hand-carved sets of rosewood chopsticks,  import gifts of crafted clove boxes or hand-poured ‘honeypots’ with botantical glowing candles?   Or maybe you just need some “Christmas Spirit” essential oil to spray about the house, smoothing nerves and uplifting everyone’s spirits with the lovely smells of pine, clove, and the traditional smells of a great Christmas!

Our Hours for the rest of the week are as follows:

Wednesday 10 am-6 pm, Thursday 9 am – 5 pm, and Friday 10 am – 2 pm.

Hope to see you there -  Merry Christmas from our family to your family!!