Safety Statistics

- terrifying but true

  • 60 -80 kids aged between 1 and 4 drown in Spain's pools every year
  • More than 30 kids died in Portugal in 2011, almost 60 in Italy in 2010 
  • More than 280 children under the age of 5 drown in swimming pools each year in the USA
  • An estimated 2,100 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2005 for 'pool submersion' injuries
  • In 2005, 17 drowning deaths involving inflatable pools were reported
  • Nearly 77 percent of drowning victims are missing for only five minutes
  • Almost 70 percent of drowning victims were not seen near the pool before the incident occurred
  • From 2005-2009, there were an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day
  • An additional 347 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents
  • About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries
  • More than 50% of drowning victims treated in Emergency Departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all other unintentional injuries)
  • These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state)

Who is most at risk?

Males: Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male

  • Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates
  • In 2009, among children who died from an unintentional injury , more than 30% of the 1 to 4 year-olds died from drowning
  • In the age group of kids ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools
  • Drowning is the cause of death among more under 4's than any cause except birth defects (congenital anomalies)
  • Among those aged 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes
  • 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 widest among children 5-14 years old
  • The death-rate by drowning of African-American children aged 5 - 15 is almost three times that of white children in the same age range

What factors influence drowning risk?

Factors such as swimming pool access, whether or not a child can swim, and choice of water-related recreational activities all contribute to the racial differences in drowning rates

The main factors that affect drowning risk are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, drug and alcohol use and seizure disorders: -

  • Lack of Swimming Ability: - many adults and children can’t swim
  • Research has shown that learning to swim greatly reduces the risk of drowning among all age ranges, including adults
  • Safety Barriers: such as Pool Fencing or Pool Net, prevent young children from gaining access to the pool area
  • A four-sided isolation fence (separating the pool area from the house and yard) reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83% compared to three-sided property-line fencing
  • Lack of Close Supervision: Drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water (such as play-pools, swimming pools, bath tubs and buckets), and even in the presence of lifeguards
  • Location: People of different ages drown in different locations
  • For example, most children ages 1 - 4 drown in home swimming pools
  • The percentage of drownings in natural water settings, including lakes, rivers and oceans, increases with age
  • More than half of fatal and nonfatal drownings among those older than 15 years occurr in natural water settings
  • Alcohol and drug use: Among adolescents and adults, alcohol and/or drug use is involved in over 70% of deaths associated with water recreation, almost a quarter of Hospital visits for drowning, and about one in five reported boating deaths
  • Alcohol influences balance, coordination and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun and heat
  • Drug abuse does the same, only more so!
  • Seizure Disorders: For persons with seizure disorders, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death

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Ken Walker - MyPoolGuru©