The Dangers of Summer Drownings

by Terry Bryant

drowning pool

Approximately 10 people die every day from unintentional, non-boat-related drownings. That’s 3,533 per year, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). About 20 percent of those people are children under the age of 14, and for every death, five more children are treated at U.S. emergency rooms for submersion injuries. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. Clearly, it’s an issue that needs our attention.

Drownings in America: the Facts

According to the CDC, some people are much more likely to drown than others, and the number may surprise you.

  • Eighty percent of American drowning victims are male.
  • Children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rate, with home swimming pools being the most common location of the accidents.
  • African-Americans are more likely to be involved in a fatal drowning than Caucasians. The variance is greatest in children ages 5-14.

Preventing Drownings

Many things can be done to help prevent drownings. Making sure that all children learn to swim at an early age is important, although it is never too late for older children and adults to learn. Other steps include:

  • Enclosing home swimming pools with a fence — A four-sided fence that separates the pool from the house reduces the incidence of drowning accidents by 83 percent when compared with a three-sided fence (that only encloses the entire lot.)
  • Wearing life jackets in natural waters — Although most drownings involving small children occur in home swimming pools, the number of accidents in natural waters like rivers, streams and lakes increase with age. The majority of these accidents (88 percent) involve people who were not wearing life jackets.
  • Reducing alcohol use around water — Alcohol is a factor in up to 70 percent of drownings involving adolescents and adults.

After a drowning accident, it is no time to go it alone. You need an experienced trial lawyer can help determine your best legal options.