Drowning Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning accidents cause roughly 10 deaths each day in the United States. Of all causes of unintentional death in the U.S., drowning ranks fifth. Experts have identified a number of potential risk factors for drowning, such as incompetent swimming abilities, lack of supervision, and lack of barriers to keep children from falling into pools. Especially at home, a number of safety precautions can be taken to prevent drowning accidents and avoidable drowning death.

Drowning Causes and Risk Factors

According to the CDC, the main contributing factors to drowning accidents often include:

  • Lack of ability to swim, particularly among children
  • Lack of barriers, such as fencing around residential pools
  • Lack of close adult supervision, even in the presence of lifeguards
  • Failure to use personal safety items such as life jackets and flotation devices
  • Physical or mental impairment, such as alcohol and drug use
  • Pre-existing seizure disorders in the swimmer

Drowning Accident Locations

The CDC reports that the locations of drowning accidents vary among differing age groups. Children between ages one and four are most likely to experience drowning accidents in residential pools. As age increases, so too do percentages of drowning accidents in natural water settings. Natural water setting includes areas such as rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Drowning Death

Worldwide, drowning death is the ranked the third leading cause of unintentional injury death, accounting for roughly seven percent of the world’s injury-related deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that around the world, an estimated 388,000 drowning deaths occur each year. Low-income and middle-income countries are reported to account for roughly 96 percent of worldwide unintentional drowning deaths. Experts assert that drowning accidents and drowning death are worldwide public health problems that may not receive sufficient attention.

Drowning Prevention

More than 80 percent of drowning deaths from drowning accidents occur in residential pools or spas. This data indicates that drowning prevention efforts are most needed in the homes of individuals and families. The single most important element for preventing drowning accidents is close supervision, as the need for close supervision is often underestimated. Drowning accidents often happen in a matter of seconds. This can be the equivalent of the time it takes for an adult to quickly walk inside the house to answer the phone while children are swimming in the backyard.

Other drowning prevention techniques include:

  • Using the buddy system while swimming
  • Taking swimming lessons and enrolling children in swimming lessons
  • Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event that a drowning accident occurs
  • Using devices that promote safety, such as floats and personal floaties for children
  • Avoiding the consumption of alcohol or drugs to ensure full alertness




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