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Can you spot the drowning child? Know the signs

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Drowning video
Drowning does not look like drowning. An educational game shows it's often a quiet struggle that involves little yelling or splashing.
YouTube screengrab

It's been a deadly week at Minnesota pools and lakes — at least four people have drowned across the state. 

Authorities on Tuesday said a 58-year-old Brooklyn Park man drowned in a northern Minnesota Lake. The Itasca County Sheriff's Office was called at about 9:20 a.m. on a report that someone was floating in the water and that a boat was going in circles on Cut Foot Sioux Lake near Battle Point.  

Also Tuesday, the bodies of two young boys who had been reported missing were found, drowned, in shallow water near the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds in Willmar. 

And a 9-year-old boy died Tuesday afternoon after being pulled from a swimming pool in Shorewood Sunday. He was attending a pool party with about a dozen people, including his parents, when he was found unresponsive in the pool. 

The last incident underscores the fact that drowning can happen even when others are present — drowning does not look like drowning, and can be difficult to spot. It's often a quiet struggle that involves little yelling or splashing. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about 10 people die every day from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children 14 or younger. The people most at risk for drowning are males, children between the ages of 1 and 4 years old, and minorities. 

One software engineer is trying to educate the public about how silently deadly drowning can be. He's created an educational game called Spot the Drowning Child to illustrate how much it doesn't look like the drama we see on TV. 

What about you? Can you spot the drowning child in this crowded pool before the lifeguard does?

Play the game online.

In an article on the game's website, Coast Guard veteran Mario Vittone outlines some signs of drowning:

• Head low in the water, mouth at water level
• Head tilted back with mouth open
• Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
• Eyes closed
• Hair over forehead or eyes
• Not using legs — vertical
• Hyperventilating or gasping
• Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
• Trying to roll over on the back
• Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.

Want to know more about kids and drowning? Check out the infographic below from Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children. Visit their website for additional information on water safety and misconceptions.   

Water safety infographic
This infographic illustrates the scope of the drowning problem in the U.S., common misconceptions families have and tips to protect kids.
Courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide

The Associated Press contributed to this report.