Drowning is leading cause of kids' accidental death: CDC

May 17, 2012 By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter
Drowning is leading cause of kids' accidental death: CDC
Swimming lessons can help protect toddlers, experts say.

(HealthDay) -- Drowning kills more American children 1 to 4 years old than any cause except birth defects, according to a new federal report.

Half of those drown in . And males are victims four times as often as females, the report by the U.S. found.

Between 2005 and 2009, more than 3,800 people of all ages drowned annually nationwide. Another 5,700 people went to the hospital in near-drowning incidents. Of these, 50 percent were hospitalized or transferred for additional care, the report authors said.

Many who survived suffered irreversible brain damage, said report co-author Dr. Julie Gilchrist, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC's Division of Unintentional .

Precautions that parents can take include blocking access to swimming pools, increasing vigilance and starting , experts said.

There's good research that swimming lessons for kids 1 to 4 can be lifesavers, Gilchrist said. "It would be really nice for children to have the skills so they can manage themselves in the rare event that they end up in the water and survive long enough so parents can find them and get them out," she said.

In many cases involving home pools, parents are unaware that their child has sneaked out of the house, Gilchrist said. "That's why you have to have barriers, something that will slow down your child's access to the water," she said.

The report was published in the May 18 issue of the CDC's .

Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • All caregivers should learn CPR.
  • Never leave a toy in or around a pool.
  • Never leave a child alone in or near a pool.
  • Make sure an adult is always within arm's length.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 years old should take swimming lessons. But remember that to swim does not guarantee their safety in the water.
  • Teach children to never run, push or jump on others around water. Teach them never to swim alone.
  • Keep a phone by the pool, along with rescue equipment, such as a life preserver and a shepherd's hook -- a long pole with a hook at the end.
  • Pools should be surrounded by a fence at least 4-feet high. Pool gates should self-close and self-latch at a height unreachable by small children.
  • If you have an inflatable or plastic pool, empty it after each use and turn it upside down.

Explore further: Swimming lessons do not increase drowning risk in young children

More information: For more on drowning prevention, visit Safe Kids USA..

Related Stories

Know the Facts About Drowning for Adequate Prevention

July 22, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Most of us have seen depictions of drowning on TV -- there's splashing, yelling and a lifeguard running to the rescue. But emergency medicine professionals caution that's not how it happens in real life.

New study uncovers the dangers of portable pools

June 20, 2011

As the weather gets warmer, many parents will turn to pools to keep their family cool. Due to their low cost and ease of use, portable pools - which include wading pools, inflatable pools and soft-sided, self-rising pools ...

Recommended for you

Some youth football drills riskier than others

August 23, 2016

Nearly three quarters of the football players in the U.S. are less than 14 years old. But amid growing concern about concussion risk in football, the majority of the head-impact research has focused on college and professional ...

Babies often put to sleep in unsafe positions

August 15, 2016

(HealthDay)—Despite decades of warnings from the "Back to Sleep" campaign, many parents are still putting their babies to sleep in ways that raise the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a new study finds.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.