Florida is a hotbed for private and public pool use, thanks in large part to the state’s year-round warm weather. But pools and other bodies of water also present certain dangers, and the state has the highest age-adjusted drowning rate in the nation at 0.7 per 100,000 people. Examining the statistics highlights certain hazards of which parents and all individuals should be aware.
Pool Drowning Statistics in the U.S.
Nationwide, drowning is a leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). For this age group, about 1.9 male children per 100,000 drowned and 1.1 girls per 100,000 drowned between 1999 and 2007 in the United States. The next most at-risk age group is 85 and older; 0.8 men and 0.2 women per 100,000 drowned in this age group, according to the CDC.
There’s also a racial disparity in drowning for children between the ages of 5 and 19 nationwide. African-American children had a drowning rate of 0.6 per 100,000 children, while the rate for white or Hispanic children was 0.1 per 100,000, according to the CDC. The CDC hypothesizes that cultural and economic factors contribute to this disparity.
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Pool Drowning Statistics in Florida
In 2010, Florida had the highest rate of drowning for the 1- to 4-year-old age group at 7.29 per 100,000 children and the highest for the 1- to 14-year-old group with 2.67 per 100,000 children. This data comes from the Florida Department of Health. From 1999 to 2010, there were 566 pool drowning deaths among children 1 to 4 years old in Florida.
Additionally, younger children are much more likely to drown in swimming pools than other bodies of water. Among the infant to 4-year-old age group, 66 percent of drownings occurred in swimming pools, and the rest occurred in other bodies of water, bathtubs and more. When the age range is changed to everyone older than 10 years old, only 16 percent of drownings occurred in pools, and 37 percent occurred in open water.
Causes of Pool Accidents and Preventive Measures
Drowning and serious injuries in water can happen from:
- lack of supervision;
- improper flotation devices;
- crowds; and
Further, individuals who slip and fall near a body of water like a pool may fall into the pool; some may be unconscious after hitting their head, creating an even more hazardous situation. Pool drains are also dangerous if they aren’t equipped with proper anti-entrapment devices. Even then, parents should be diligent about watching their children and teaching them to stay away from the drains.
There are other measures individuals and parents can take to prevent drownings. Pool owners can install fences or pool covers around their pools with concealed latches that prevent small children from accessing the pool without an adult. Swimming lessons are another great way to prevent drowning, and some recommend swimming lessons begin as early as 1 year old. Careful observation at pool parties and other events can help prevent accidents as well.
Chalik & Chalik is committed to helping parents in Florida keep their kids safe. We even offer a Parents’ Corner section on our blog with articles written especially for parents. If you have a legal matter you’d like to discuss, call our office at 855-529-0269.