Drowning deaths are declining nationwide, but summer weekends remain the most dangerous time for drowning accidents, a new study finds.
More than 46% of fatal drownings, and 57% of nonfatal drownings, took place over weekends in June, July, and August, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of drownings from 2005-09.
Death and nonfatal injury rates for drowning were highest among children under 4, whose injuries occurred mostly in swimming pools. But the study also found disparities among the sexes and among racial groups.
For example, males died from drowning accidents at a rate four times that for females, the CDC study found.
Also, blacks between 5 and 14 were about three times more likely to die from drowning than white children of the same age, CBS News reports. That could be because up to 70% of black children can't swim, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Similarly, about 62% of Hispanics lack swimming skills. "It's a cultural issue, because many of the African-American and Hispanic children have parents and grandparents who never learned to swim," the CPSC's chairwoman told CBS.
Formal swimming lessons can reduce a child's risk of drowning by as much as 88%, the CDC reports. Other tips to prevent accidental drownings include:
- Installing a fence at least 4 feet tall to block small children from accessing a swimming pool.
- Keeping a close eye on children around swimming pools, even if a lifeguard is on duty.
- Emptying inflatable or plastic pools and turning them upside-down when not in use.
In some cases, however, a drowning accident could be due to negligence, such as a lifeguard's actions (or lack of action) or a failure to adhere to state or federal safety laws. An experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney can help figure out who's responsible for a drowning accident and can help pursue legal action for compensation.
- Drowning Is Leading Cause of Kids' Accidental Death: CDC (U.S. News and World Report)
- Drowning (FindLaw)
- Public Pool Drowning Leads to Wrongful Death Suit (FindLaw's Injured)
- Inflatable Slide Recall May Lead to Lawsuits (FindLaw's Injured)