KNOW YOUR FACTS

Sure, the truth hurts but we believe knowing the facts means we can better combat them.  

WHAT IS DROWNING?

Drowning occurs when you can’t get oxygen into your lungs because you are in or below water. There are two primary causes for drowning. The first occurs when someone submerged in water feels reflexes of panic and air hunger. And, when they can’t avoid taking a breath under water, fluid will rush into the lungs. The other type of drowning occurs when the voice box closes off. Known as a laryngospasm, this is a reflex that happens to prevent fluid from getting into the lungs. This could happen if someone is below water, holding their breath to the point where you pass out. Drowning does not happen days or weeks after being in water. There are no medically accepted conditions known as ‘near-drowning,’ ‘dry drowning’ and ‘secondary drowning. Additionally, swallowing water is not drowning. Although this can happen concurrently with water going into your lungs, that in itself does not truly represent a drowning event.

 

DROWNING STATISTICS

Childhood fatal and nonfatal drowning often occurs when a child is left alone, even for a few seconds. Most children who drown in pools were last seen inside the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time. Children may drown with adults or other swimmers around them that aren’t watching or don’t understand what is happening.

  • Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.

  • There are an estimated 360,000 annual drowning deaths worldwide.

  • Children, males (Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male.) and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk of drowning.

  • Each year, about 4,000 people drown in the United States, about 10 per day. 

  • Drowning kills more children 1-4 years of age than anything else except birth defects. Among children 1-14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death (after motor vehicle crashes).

  • Children under age 1 most often drown in bathtubs, buckets, and toilets. Children 1-4 most often drown in swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas. Older children, teens and young adults typically drown in natural water settings such as lakes and rivers.

  • More than half of those who are treated in an emergency department for drowning require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with about 6% of all unintentional injuries). A person who survives drowning may suffer lasting consequences like brain damage.

  • Minorities: Between 2005 and 2009, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans was significantly higher than that of whites across all ages. The disparity is increased among children 5-14 years old. The fatal drowning rate of African American children ages 5 to 14 is almost three times that of white children in the same age range. The disparity is most pronounced when looking at drowning that happens in swimming pools; African American children 5-19 drown in swimming pools at rates 5.5 times higher than those of whites. This disparity is greatest among those 11-12 years were African Americans drown in swimming pools at rates 10 times those of whites. These disparities might be associated with lack of basic swim skill in some minority populations.

 

The statistics are scary but the good news is you can

do your part to make a change. 

 

TIPS TO STAY SAFE IN AND AROUND WATER

  • Closely supervise children around water. Adults often expect children to splash and show obvious signs of distress when they are having trouble in the water. However, drowning victims, especially children, rarely are able to call for help or wave their arms, and thus usually drown silently.

  • Avoid alcohol while supervising children or before swimming, boating, or water skiing. Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.

  • Learn to swim; make sure children can swim and float. Swimming is more than a recreational activity; it is a potentially life-saving skill.

  • Learn CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, CPR skills performed by a bystander could save someone’s life.

  • Install four-sided fencing around a swimming pool.

  • Install child proof locks on all doors leading to sources of water.

  • Always wear properly fitted personal floatation devices.