Preventing Drowning Deaths
(American Heart Association, July 24, 2015)
Warm weather, sunny days, poolside barbeques and trips to the beach. Yes, summer is here, and with it, the dangers of drowning.
Over 3,500 people die each year due to drowning. Of those, one in five are children. Drowning is the leading cause of death among children 1-4. For children ages 1-14, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death.
While there are many risk factors that influence drowning risk, many are preventable. Here are some tips to keep your family safe this summer:
- Learn to swim. Research has shown that formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning.
- Keep your pool or other body of water fenced.
- Always make sure a lifeguard or other able-bodied adult is nearby. This includes while bathing at home. Never leave children unattended in the tub.
- Use life jackets when available.
- Avoid alcohol consumption as this influences balance, coordination, and judgment.
Even with all precautions taken, sometimes, accidents still happen. Here’s what to do if there’s ever a drowning emergency near you:
- 1. Dial 9-1-1 or have someone do it for you.
- The American Heart Association recommends immediately starting CPR including rescue breathing. Open the airway, check for breathing, and if there is no breathing, give 2 rescue breaths. The prompt initiation of rescue breathing increases a drowning victim’s chance of survival.
- Follow with chest compressions. After giving the first 2 rescue breaths, begin chest compressions and continue to cycle rescue breaths and chest compressions until help arrives.
- Providing immediate, high quality bystander CPR can improve survival rates among drowning victims. If you don’t already know CPR, visit www.heart.org/cpr and register for a class near you. It just might save a life.If it is safe to do so, get the victim out of the water. It’s best if you have a tool to use such as a boat, raft, or other flotation device. Never enter unsafe waters (heavy currents, high tides, etc.)
The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Our mission is to build healthier lives by preventing, treating and defeating these diseases – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit americanheart.org.