| In the
United States, 1,236 children (0-18) died from drowning in 2000. Males
are at a much higher risk of drowning than girls: one study found that
on average, three-quarters of all drowning victims are male. Toddlers,
especially boys under age four, are at highest risk of drowning.
Toddlers, though curious near water, are not able to comprehend the
potential dangers. It is also believed that toddlers drown silently;
not splashing or calling for help when they get into trouble in water.
Children living in rural areas are also at higher risk because of their
proximity to open bodies of water. Most child drownings occur when a
supervising adult is distracted.
A study in the Journal of Pediatrics reported on the relationship
between the child’s age and place of drowning. This study found that
babies most often drown in bathtubs when left unattended, even for a
few minutes. Toddler drowning most often occurs in swimming pools or
backyard ponds. Most children who drown in pools were last seen inside
the home or just outside of the home (not necessarily near the water)
and had been out of sight of the caretaker for less than five minutes.
Older children more often drown in open bodies of water (lakes, rivers,
oceans, gravel pits).
Personal flotation devices (PFDs or life jackets) are very effective at
preventing drowning for all ages, especially for children playing in or
near pools and open bodies of water, regardless of whether the child is
a good swimmer.
- Lapse in
- Children under age four and males.
- Unlocked gates and inadequate fencing of pools
- Easy, unsupervised access to open bodies of
- Lack of adequate adult supervision.
- Drug or alcohol use by supervising adults.
- Child’s ability to gain access to pools.
- Whether or not child was able to swim.
- Whether a personal floatation device was
appropriate and used.
for Case Review
- Autopsy reports
- Scene investigation reports
- EMS run reports
- Prior CPS history on child, caregivers and
persons supervising child at time of death
- Names, ages and genders of other children in
- Information on zoning and code inspections and
violations regarding pools or ponds