Now that summer is approaching, it is important to refresh our knowledge about the dangers of swimming in the warmer weather. Unfortunately, drowning is one the most common causes of death in the U.S. In fact, a report from Safe Kids Worldwide and Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program revealed that nearly 1,000 children die in drowning accidents each year. 70% of these drowning incidents occur between the months of May and August.
The report also showed that as children get older, they are more likely to drown in open water areas like lakes, rivers, and oceans, instead of a swimming pool. When it comes to children between the ages of 1 and 4, 57% of drownings take place in pools. By the time a child turns 15, they have a greater risk of drowning in an ocean, lake, or another large body of open water. Only 9% of drownings among teenagers ages 15-19 happened in a pool, while 73% of drowning incidents for this age group happened in open water.
Between 2007 and 2016, there were 434 drownings in Georgia among those below the age of 19. According to CDC data, this is an average of 43 drownings each year. The total number of drownings includes:
- 182 pool drownings
- 169 open water drownings
- 34 bathtub drownings
Although swimming provides for great fun and exercise, families need to be cautious and pay attention to safety risks, especially when swimming in open water. Open bodies of water tend to have unpredictable and strong currents that even experienced swimmers might struggle with. This is why a responsible adult should observe children whenever they’re in the water. It is also wise to stay within arm’s length of a child who is in or around the water.
Research shows that boys have the greatest risk for drowning in open water, with 8 out of 10 open water drowning victims being males. The study also showed that African-American children are twice as likely to drown in open water as caucasian children. A similar disparity exists with swimming pools as well. According to the CDC, black children between the ages of 5 and 19 drown in swimming pools at five times the rate of white children.
Before heading out to swim this summer, you should first discuss a safety plan with your family and remind them to always remain vigilant when swimming in a pool or an open body of water.