In our efforts to reduce drowning risk among the most vulnerable populations we turned to scientific research. We found that basic swim skills and knowledge of water safety are the most effective tools for reducing drowning.
A CDC report released has noted that about 21,000 children and young adults drowned from 1999 through 2010, and that drowning is responsible for more deaths among children aged 1-4 years than any other cause except birth defects. For people aged 29 and younger, drowning is one of the top three causes of unintentional injury death.
Previous research has identified racial/ethnic disparities in drowning rates (3,4). To describe these differences by age of decedent and drowning setting, CDC analyzed 12 years of combined mortality data from 1999–2010 for those aged ≤29 years. Among non-Hispanics, the overall drowning rate for American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) was twice the rate for whites, and the rate for blacks was 1.4 times the rate for whites. Disparities were greatest in swimming pools, with swimming pool drowning rates among blacks aged 5–19 years 5.5 times higher than those among whites in the same age group. This disparity was greatest at ages 11–12 years; at these ages, blacks drown in swimming pools at 10 times the rate of whites. Drowning prevention strategies include using barriers (e.g., fencing) and life jackets, actively supervising or lifeguarding, teaching basic swimming skills and performing bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The practicality and effectiveness of these strategies varies by setting; however, basic swimming skills can be beneficial across all settings.
It is with this in mind that we hope to reduce the number of drownings annually by: 1. providing affordable swimming lessons to families that can't afford market rate lessons 2. Raising awareness of the risk of drowning. Currently drowning is only discussed during the summer and after a death has occurred. We would like safe water habits to be common knowledge and as widely recognized as the golden arches.
Source: Gilchrist J, Parker EM. Racial/ethnic disparities in fatal unintentional drowning among persons aged ≤29 years—United States, 1999–2010. MMWR 2014;63:421–6.