A Children's Health Drowning Prevention expert shares smart tips to prevent water tragedies

It's easy to think that drowning can't happen to you, but the statistics say otherwise. Drowning is a serious risk to children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, drowning is the single leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4 after congenital conditions.

 

Jesus Alderete, Program Manager of Injury Prevention at Children's Health℠, has studied drownings in children for more than 10 years. He shares seven facts all adults should know to keep children safe around the water.

 

Take steps to prevent drowning

1. Drowning is a leading cause of death for children.

"When families lose a child to drowning, they are devastated," says Alderete. "And it happens far too often."

 

Teens are at high risk, too. About 370 children in the United States ages 10 to 19 die from drowning every year. Why? Doctors say teens are more likely to take risks, underestimate situations and drink alcohol while swimming.

 

2. Nonfatal drownings are devastating, too.

Not all drownings are fatal. Sometimes, the victim is rescued, survives and does well. Other times, recovery can be challenging.

 

"Some children suffer brain damage due to lack of oxygen during the drowning incident," says Alderete. "They suffer long-term or permanent disabilities. And that's devastating for families, too."

 

3. Children can drown quickly - within seconds.

A child's lungs can fill with water in a matter of seconds. If the child cannot breathe, brain damage or death can occur within minutes.

 

Learn more facts and smart strategies to prevent drownings

Did you know you can also sign up to receive free drowning prevention tips straight to your phone from Children’s Health? Text WATER to 77444 (or AGUA to 77444 for Spanish) to begin. For more resources, visit childrens.com/summersafety.