According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 320,000 lives annually. In the United States, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children ages one to fourteen. In 2014, WHO published The Global Report on Drowning, the first report dedicated exclusively to drowning. According to the report, age is one of the major risk factors for drowning and is often times associated with a lapse in supervision. On a global scale, the highest drowning rates are among children ages one to four, followed by children ages five to nine. Researchers also found that males are especially at risk for drowning, with twice the overall mortality rate of females. Some studies suggest that higher drowning rates among males are due to increased exposure to water and riskier behavior in comparison to females.
As temperatures steadily rise in Houston and across the state, now is the time to take preventative steps that may help decrease the risk of drowning. If you have swimming pool at home, both WHO and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommend installing fencing around the perimeter of the pool. The CDC suggests that fencing should be at least four feet high and use self-closing or self-latching gates that open outward. Swimming lessons for young children, life jackets, and learning CPR are also among the list of suggested preventative measures. Designating a responsible adult to watch young children while they are swimming or playing in or around water is always recommended in addition to other preventative measures.