Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.
Factors that influence drowning risk include:
- Lack of Swimming Ability: Many adults and children report that they can’t swim. Research has shown that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years.
- Lack of Barriers:Barriers, such as pool fencing, prevent young children from gaining access to the pool area without caregivers’ awareness.
- Lack of Close Supervision:Drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water (such as bathtubs, swimming pools, buckets), and even in the presence of lifeguards.
- Failure to Wear Life Jackets:Most (72%) boating deaths that occurred during 2010 were caused by drowning, with 88% of victims not wearing life jackets.
- Alcohol Use:Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation.
- Seizure Disorders: For persons with seizure disorders, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death, with the bathtub as the site of highest drowning risk.
Research has found that the following factors help to greatly reduce the risk of a drowning death occurring:
- Swimming skills help. Taking part in in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years.
- Seconds count—learn CPR. CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes in drowning victims. The more quickly CPR is started, the better the chance of improved outcomes.
- Life jackets can reduce risk.Potentially, half of all boating deaths might be prevented with the use of life jackets.