According to new federal data released just in time for the summer swimming season, the numbers of drowning fatalities across the country are down, except in some categories. According to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overall drowning fatality rates have dropped by 9%. However, when it came to the 45-84 age category, fatalities actually increased by 9.7%.
Overall, the highest risk of fatality still involved children below the age of five, and adults above the age of 85. These are some of the most vulnerable categories when it comes to drowning fatalities, and the statistics in these categories are not encouraging. The findings involve data from between 1999 and 2010. During this period of time, there were more than 46,000 fatalities across the country from unintentional drowning, including people killed in boating accidents.
Over this period of time, the biggest increase in fatalities involved people between the age of 45 and 84. The category of people between the age of five and 19 was found to be the least likely to die in a drowning accident, probably because these persons in most cases had already learned how to swim. The risk seems to be the highest in children below the age of four, and the researchers believe that this is either due to lack of supervision, or due to lack of swimming skills. As the summer swimming season begins, parents must be on high alert.
The analysis does throw up some interesting facts. For instance, the researchers knew that they would find a much higher risk of fatalities over weekends, but they were not expecting the level of increased risk. The number of fatalities was roughly 40% higher on weekends, compared to weekdays. Females were much more likely to drown in a tub, pool or natural location, with an equal amount of risk in all these locations. However, males were much more likely to drown in a natural water setting, like a lake or pond.