With Summer in full swing, chances are you and your family will be going on vacation, heading to the local pool or even hitting an ocean. Orange County is known for its beaches and beautiful residential pools But remember, water and young children, even if the child has had water safety training, can be dangerous and even deadly. I cannot tell you how many times I get calls from parents whose child has drown. Sadly, drowning is the number one cause of death among children under the age of five.
Even a near drowning can cause long term disabilities affecting families forever. Near drowning can cause lack of oxygen to the brain. The effects include central nervous system damage contributing to varying levels of brain damage, resulting in loss of memory, seizures, learning disabilities, paralysis, and sometimes coma. The surviving victims may also experience a lifetime of multiple medical problems including respiratory, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular disorders. The statistics are shocking.
- Of all preschoolers who drown, 70% are in the care of one of both parents at the time of the drowning.
- Of all preschoolers who drown, 75% are missing from sight only five minutes or less.
- In 2007, there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) in the United States, averaging ten deaths per day. An additional 496 people died from drowning in boating-related incidents.
- More than one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.1 For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
- More than 55% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments require hospitalization or transfer for higher levels of care (compared to a hospitalization rate of 3-5% for all unintentional injuries). These injuries can be severe
- Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).