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Unintentional Drowning: CDC Activities in USA
1/19/2011 9:27:15 AM

Unintentional Drowning: CDC Activities in USA

CDC Childhood Injury Report: Patterns of Unintentional Injuries among 0-19 year olds in the United States, 2000-2006.
Unintentional injuries, including drowning, are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States.  This report uses data from the National Vital Statistics System and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – All Injury Program to provide an overview of fatal and nonfatal unintentional injuries related to drowning, falls, fires or burns, transportation-related injuries, poisoning, and suffocation.  Results are presented by age group and sex, as well as geographic distribution of injury death rates by state.  The drowning death rate among children 0-19 year of age was 1.4 per 100,000, second only to transportation.  Drowning rates varied by gender with a rate of 2.0 per 100,000 among males and 0.8 per 100,000 among females.  Drowning rates varied by age group with the highest rates among children 1-4 years of age at 3.0 per 100,000; among this group, drowning represented 27% of all unintentional injury deaths.

Borse NN, Gilchrist J, Dellinger AM, Rudd RA, Ballesteros MF, Sleet DA. CDC Childhood Injury Report: Patterns of Unintentional Injuries among 0-19 year olds in the United States, 2000-2006.  Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2008.

Prevalence of Pools and Adequate Pool Fencing in the United States, 2001-2003
Nearly 15% (16.3 million) U.S. households reported access to a swimming pool at their residence; only 74% were reported to be adequately fenced (i.e., four-sided scale-resistant fence, completely separating the pool area from the house and yard, with self-closing, self-latching gate) .  Household factors associated with adequate pool fencing included: lower income, renting the residence, and residing in a building with multiple units or an attached house.  An estimated 488,633 households with pool access, where the family owns the residence and has children less than 5 years old, were not adequately fenced.  Between 1994 and 2001-2003, the percentage of pools that were adequately fenced did not change substantially.  This study highlights that need for continued efforts to target families with young children with drowning prevention interventions that include and emphasize adequate pool fencing.

Gilchrist J, Mack K. Prevalence of Pools and Adequate Pool Fencing in the United States, 2001-2003.  IJARE 2008;2(1);16-26.

Nonfatal and Fatal Drownings in Recreational Water Sites— United States, 2001–2002
During 2001–2002, an estimated 4,174 persons on average per year were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs) for nonfatal unintentional drowning injuries in recreational water settings. About 53% required hospitalization or transfer for specialized care. In 2001, 3,372 persons suffered fatal unintentional drownings in recreational settings. Nonfatal and fatal injury rates were highest for children ages 4 years and younger and for males of all ages. To reduce drownings, environmental protections (e.g., isolation pool-fences and lifeguards) should be adopted; alcohol use should be avoided while swimming, boating, water skiing, or supervising children; and all participants, caregivers, and supervisors should know water-safety skills and be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Injury Control and Risk Survey: Assessment of Self-reported Swimming Ability
CDC Injury Center researchers analyzed data collected during the first Injury Control and Risk Survey to assess how well American adults reported they could swim. Younger respondents reported greater swimming ability than older respondents, and self-reported ability increased with level of education. Among racial groups, African Americans reported the most limited swimming ability. Men of all ages, races, and educational levels consistently reported greater swimming ability than women. Men also have much higher drowning rates. These data will help public health practitioners identify groups at greater risk for drowning and better target water safety messages and swimming education efforts.
Gilchrist J, Sacks JJ, Branche CM. Self-reported swimming ability in U.S. adults, 1994. Public Health Rep 2000;115(2–3):110–1.

Lifeguard Effectiveness: A Report of the Working Group
Most drownings occur at unguarded sites, according to an October 2001 report by CDC’s Injury Center. This report assessed lifeguard services as a strategy for preventing drowning and water-related injuries. Data from 1988–1997 show more than three-quarters of drownings at U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA) sites (mostly ocean beaches) occurred when beaches were unguarded. In contrast, the chance of drowning at a beach while it is being protected by lifeguards trained under USLA standards is less than 1 in 18 million. These findings underscore the importance of having trained lifeguards at all beaches where people swim. This report will help communities, local government officials, and owners of private water recreational areas make informed decisions about whether to begin, retain, or discontinue lifeguarding services


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