According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional death between ages 1 and 4, and the No. 2 cause between ages 5 and 9. The latest national data show 702 U.S. children under age 15 drowned in 2017.
The figures are not broken down by ethnic group, but minorities may be at even greater risk. The USA Swimming Foundation reports 64% of African American children and 45% of Hispanic children have low or no swimming ability, compared to only 40% of white children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated its recommendations for preventing drowning in children, ranging from vigilance at bath time and emptying buckets and wading pools immediately after use to teaching children to swim and encouraging teenagers to learn CPR.
If a drowning emergency should occur, every second makes a difference.
When tragedy strikes, start by calling 911 immediately. Get the victim to a safe area and assess for signs of life. If they’re not breathing normally, start CPR.
For drowning victims, the American Heart Association recommends CPR with chest compressions and rescue breaths.