Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under the age of 5. It is most common in children between the ages of 1-5 years old, however, it can occur at any age.
The most common causes of drowning include inadequate adult supervision, inability to swim, use of alcohol (teenagers and adults), and risk-taking behavior. Seizure disorders, developmental disorders, and underlying cardiac arrhythmias also may increase the risk of drowning.
The process of drowning can occur very quickly and can also happen quietly.
Most commonly, the drowning victim struggles to keep his/her head above water, and when the victim can no longer maintain a clear airway, he/she becomes fully submerged in water.
The water is aspirated into the lungs and leads to the inability to breathe effectively. The lack of oxygen leads to loss of consciousness.
Drowning can occur in natural bodies of water and pools, but it can also occur in smaller containers of water in the home such as buckets, bathtubs, and toilets.
Please keep in mind that any person who experienced an episode of drowning requires evaluation by a health care provider, even if the person seems relatively well immediately after the incident.
There are many important and viable strategies to reduce the risk of drowning.
Studies have shown that the prevention of drowning involves five major interventions: swim lessons, 4-sided pool fencing, life jackets, supervision, and lifeguards. Parents should never leave young children alone near a body of water (no matter how small-this includes buckets of water, toilets, and bathtubs).
A supervising adult should stay within arm’s length of an infant, young child, or another incompetent swimmer when in or near water.
For older children and more competent swimmers, it is essential that a supervising adult be assigned to “watch the water”-i.e., keep an eye on the child swimming. It is also very important for the depth of the water to be assessed before anyone jumps in. Jumping or diving into water that is too shallow can lead to a spinal injury.
Lastly, all parents should become CPR certified in order to be able to competently intervene and perform CPR if needed.
Stay safe this summer!
Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care opened in 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. With multiple locations in San Antonio and Dallas, they are open seven days a week with extended evening hours and see walk-in patients or through an online check-in system. They accept most commercial insurance and Medicaid plans.