Welcome to Best Practices in Prevention Oriented Child Death Review

Drowning


List of Potential Interventions

Strategy

Rating



Overview

In the United States, 1,236 children (0-18 years old) died from drowning in 2000. Males are at a much higher risk of drowning than females: one study found that on average, three-quarters of all drowning victims are male. Toddlers, especially males under age four years, are at highest risk of drowning. Children living in rural areas are also at higher risk because of their proximity to open bodies of water. Most child drownings occur when a supervising adult is distracted.

A study in the Journal of Pediatrics reported on the relationship between the child's age and place of drowning. This study found that babies most often drown when left unattended in bathtubs, even for a few minutes. Toddler drowning most often occurs in swimming pools or backyard ponds. Most children who drown in pools were last seen inside the home or just outside of the home (not necessarily near the water) and had been out of sight of the caretaker for less than five minutes. Older children more often drown in open bodies of water (lakes, rivers, oceans, gravel pits).

Alcohol use is involved in about 25% to 50% of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation. It is a major contributing factor in up to 50% of drownings among adolescent boys. Nearly three-quarters of boating-related deaths are due to drowning; 89% of people who drowned while boating were not wearing personal flotation devices.