Check out this week’s teaching resources here:
- Water Safety Case and Discussion
- Weiss Pediatrics 2010-AAP Prevention of Drowning
- Powerpoint for this topic shared by Dr. Abby Grant
- SCH Everyone Swims resources
Take-home points for understanding drowning and promoting water safety:
- Epidemiology of drowning: Death from drowning is a top 3 cause of injury death in childhood. It is the leading cause of injury death for 1-4 year olds and the 2nd leading cause for 5-14 year olds. Unfortunately, it disproportionately affects minority children. Children can drown in only 1-2 inches of water. Adolescent males have a 10-fold increased risk of drowning compared to females. They have higher risk exposure, more risky behaviors (e.g., swimming alone and at night), and are more likely to drink alcohol in aquatic settings.
- Drowning definition: Drowning is no longer defined as death from submersion. The WHO defines it as “a process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid” and outcomes are classified as death, morbidity, or no morbidity.
- Risk reduction: Drowning can be prevented by many strategies including 1) adult supervision within arm’s reach, 2) life jackets, 3) pool fencing that encloses the pool and is at least 4 feet high, 4) swimming at lifeguarded areas, and 5) swimming lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children begin to learn to swim by age 4. In one study, taking formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in drowning risk (Brenner et al. Arch Ped Adol Med 2009).
- Drowning prevention: Pediatricians have a role in helping prevent drowning. Screen for swimming ability at age 4-5 and refer to swim lessons (see pool info handouts on Everyone Swims tab on the SCH drowning prevention page). Discuss water safety with families and provide information, including handouts here: http://www.safekids.org/watersafety