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Risk Factors for Drowning in the United States

Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury and death in the United States. Drowning is defined as the submersion in and inhalation of water that causes a person to suffer from an oxygen deficiency.

Even if a victim survives a drowning incident, a lack of oxygen for an extended period of time can cause serious and permanent brain damage or other disabilities. Because of the serious consequences of drowning accidents, everyone should be aware of the particular factors that increase the risk of drowning in the United States.

Regular Presence Around Water

This may seem fairly obvious, but people who are consistently around or have access to water have an increased risk of drowning accidents. Specifically, the risks increase for the following people:

  • Members of households situated near bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, or oceans;
  • Members of households with swimming pools or hot tubs on the property;
  • People who own or regularly use boats or other water devices; and
  • People who have water-based occupations, such as fishing or water patrol.

Anyone who lives near water or regularly accesses water sources should always be particularly aware of safety practices to avoid drowning accidents, and should contact the experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. if a loved one is involved in a drowning accident.

Young Age

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1 and 14 years in the United States. Children often do not have the ability to appreciate the risks of drowning when they are around water sources. In addition, children are often very attracted to pools or other bodies or water. These two facts make for a very dangerous combination and a high risk for drowning accidents.

Adults should always make sure that children are always properly supervised when they are in or around water, even a bathtub. Many times, an adult may believe that an older child nearby may constitute adequate supervision and may leave a younger child in their care around water. However, even older children may not know how to react in an emergency drowning situation. For this reason, children should always be supervised by an adult who can swim while they are around bodies of water.

Male Gender

WHO also reports that males are approximately twice as likely to die in drowning accidents as females. This may be due to the fact that males tend to be greater risk takers, which leads them to participate in more dangerous water sports or other risky water-related activities such as drinking alcohol while swimming or driving a watercraft. Males also have a greater tendency to go swimming alone, which puts them at greater risk for drowning accidents.

There are numerous other risk factors, such as certain medical conditions that might cause complications while swimming, socio-economic status, ethnic minority status, and more. Everyone should be aware of the particular drowning risk factors that apply to their family and work to practice safe behaviors while in or around water.