Although drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children under the age of five, and one of the top causes of injury death for all children, these drowning deaths are generally preventable.
The loss of a child is a terrible tragedy, and even more so when it is preventable.
The Hard Facts
In the US, about 3500 people die each year in unintentional, non-boating drownings. About one in five of these people are children 14 and younger. And about five times more children suffer near-drownings that can result in permanent brain injury and other injuries.
The children most at risk are those aged 1-4. About 30% of all unintentional injury deaths in this age group are due to drowning. Most of these children drown in home swimming pools.
With this high number of accidental deaths and even higher numbers of injury deaths, prevention is crucial. It’s also straightforward. Swimming pools are naturally attractive to children, who approach it with curiosity or memory of enjoyment from spending times at the pool with parents.
Supervision, of course, is crucial to saving the lives of children this age, but so is a basic level of safety features. A fence separating the house from the pool reduces the risk of a 1-4 year old drowning in the pool by 83%. For aboveground pools, simply removing the access ladder protects most children. Toys, flotation devices, and other attractive objects should be removed from the pool when adults leave the area.