According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2004 there were 3308 unintentional, fatal drownings – equaling an average of 9 lives lost per day. These statistics do not account for the 676 drownings in boat-related deaths.
For every child under 14 who drowns 5 others are treated at hospitals, some with severe brain damage.
Men lead in so many of life’s statistics, and they can be risk-takers, so perhaps it is not surprising that of the unintentional, fatal drownings 76% were men. While in self-report studies men consistently reported more swimming ability than women, the hard numbers show that as men age they are more at risk of drowning in natural water settings, especially where alcohol is present.
Another group at risk seems more intuitive, as unintentional fatal drownings are the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-14. Surprisingly, most of the young pool drowning victims had only been out of sight for less than 5 minutes.
The CDC just touted National Safe Boating Week in March, seeking to inform the public and make them aware of boating dangers. In 2005, 3,451 persons were reported injured and 697 died in boating incidents. Among those who drowned, 87% were not wearing life jackets. The North American Safe Boating Campaign wants to raise awareness and ensure that every person on a boat is wearing a life jacket. Fittingly enough this years boating campaign was entitled, just ‘Wear it!’.
Additionally, responsible ‘fun in the sun’ activities require you to be good to your skin! Skin cancer can devastate your life. While many people like to get a head start on their summer tan by burning a couple of times medical experts say that after burning only 5 times your risk of skin cancer doubles. Be sure to use a good sun screen; stay out of direct sun if possible during the hours of 10-4, as the sun’s damaging rays are more potent during these hours. See your family doctor or dermatologist at least once a year for a complete body examination. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer has been known to kill a person who did not notice a mole between their toes or behind their ear. Your skin is the largest organ in your body-take care of it!
Here are some Drowning Prevention Tips for your fun, sun and water recreational outings:
Pool Safty – Preventing Swimming Pool Drowning
Learn how to swim
Swim with a buddy
Always have a sober, focused adult supervising children when they swim. That adult should have no other focus, including talking on a cell phone; mowing the lawn; or involving themselves in any other activity that would distract them.
It goes without saying that no one should drink alcohol before engaging in any water activities, including: swimming; boating; and water skiing as alcohol impairs judgment.
Learn CPR! Paramedics are great, but you might save a life while waiting for them if you just learn.
Never rely on ‘pool noodles’ and other similar water wing devices to keep your child safe. None of these devices have been designed or planned to be primary water safety protection.
Immediately remove ALL water toys when the day in the pool is finished, as this will help to prevent a curious child from going in to get their favorite toy.
NATURAL WATER SAFETY
Know the weather! In the water is no place to be when lightening and strong winds show up to rain on your parade.
JUST WEAR IT! Your U.S. Coast Guard-approved safety jacket please………
Know, and heed warning flags on beaches
Watch for signs of rip currents and undercurrents…if caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the beach until out of the current then head for shore
Finally, have a healthy respect for water! At times it can look as smooth as glass, but you will never what lurks, just under the surface! Be safe. Be responsible and have fun in the sun!