Water Safety is defined as the procedures, precautions and policies associated with safety in, on and around bodies of water, where there is a risk of injury or drowning. It has applications in several occupations, sports and recreational activities, and above all at home and in real life.
Since drowning is the number one cause of injury-related death among children between the ages of 1 and 5 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-14, water safety should be a priority for parents, teachers and caregivers.
Drowning incidents don’t happen as portrayed on film and TV. They can be difficult to detect as drowning is an extremely silent event. Contrary to popular perception, there is little or no splashing to be seen, no sound involved. Children can drown in front of other children, adults and even lifeguards before anyone realizes what has happened.
It only takes a moment. A child or weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text message, check a fishing line or take a picture. Death and injury from drownings happen every day in domestic environments such as home pools, hot tubs, bathtubs even buckets and in open water like the beach or in oceans, lakes, rivers and streams.
Here are 5 water safety facts to keep in mind:
10 fatal drownings per day
In the U.S. drowning takes an average of 3,500 – 4,000 lives per year. That is an average of 10 fatal drownings per day. According to the CDC, from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States, which ia about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.
Drowning is among the top 5 causes of unintentional injury
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury related death for children ages 1-4. Drowning remains in the top 5 causes of unintentional injury related death from birth to 54 years old.
23% of child drownings happen during a family gathering near a pool
CDC data show that in children most drownings occur in residential swimming pools while in adults, most drownings occur in natural waters. Most child drownings occur when children get into the pool on their own. The CDC found that most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and the majority of these drownings took place in the midst of a family reunion or gathering.
Learning to swim can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%
Learning to swim can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% for 1-4 year olds who take formal swim lessons. Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning up to 88%. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics modified their recommendations about swim lessons, citing studies that show most children over the age of one may be at lower risk of drowning if they have some formal swimming instruction.
Drowning is fast and silent.
Drowning can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds, the time it takes to apply some sunscreen or post a tweet on social media. Movies depict drowning as flailing and screaming for help but in reality this is not the case. Drowning is quick, silent and deadly and unless you’re a trained professional you may miss the signs of drowning all together. Drowning victims seldom have the time, energy or air to call for help. There aren’t any flailing arms or big splashing to catch onlookers’ attention.
Education is key to prevent unintentional drownings. The NDPA relies on donations from our members, friends, and supporters to continue our work. With your support we can continue to bring people, groups, and leaders together to prevent drownings. Remember our mission – “Together WE can PREVENT the tragedy of drowning!”