May 19--Drowning Top Cause of Injury Deaths in Kids 1-4---Although the death rate for drowning in the U.S. has gone down in the last decade, drowning leads to more deaths among young children aged 1 to 4 than any other cause except birth defects, a new report from the CDC reveals.
Between 2005 and 2009, the death rates from accidental drowning were higher among children under 4 years of age than for any other age group, the report shows. About half of these deadly incidents in young children took place at swimming pools.Kids under 4 also had the highest rate of nonfatal drownings, meaning injuries from near drowning that may have landed them in the emergency room or in the hospital. Swimming pools were the site of roughly 65% of these near drownings in preschoolers.
Researchers also found that for each year between 2005 and 2009, an average of 3,880 Americans lost their lives to drowning and nearly 5,800 people a year were estimated to have sought treatment in the emergency room because of a near-drowning episode.
The researchers suggest that taking swimming lessons while young can teach life-saving skills to help prevent drownings and water-related injuries. Wearing life jackets, installing four-sided pool fencing, and giving bystander CPR can also help lessen the number of lives lost or injuries.
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Pool Safety (from the AAP)
- Never leave children alone in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment.
- Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through.
- Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can't reach.
- If the house serves as the fourth side of a fence surrounding a pool, install an alarm on the exit door to the yard and the pool.
- Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd's hook — a long pole with a hook on the end — and life preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool. Choose a shepherd’s hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity.
- Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
- Children ages 1 to 4 may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of age.
- The decision to enroll a 1- to 4-year-old child in swimming lessons should be made by the parent and based on the child’s developmental readiness, but swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.
- Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
- Avoid entrapment: Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers. Ask your pool operator if your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act. If you have a swimming pool or spa, ask your pool service representative to update your drains and other suction fitting with anti-entrapment drain covers and other devices or systems. See PoolSafely.gov for more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
- Large, inflatable, above-ground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing requirements, it is essential that they be surrounded by an appropriate fence just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain unsupervised access.
**Info about POOL SAFETY from Healthychildren.org/ and the AAP