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The #1 Cause of Death for Young Children in US – And What You Can Do to Avoid It

Water safety

With summer just around the corner, you’ve probably already arranged for proper boat and watercraft insurance. (And if you haven’t, give us a call today at 800-390-4071 – Cost-U-Less specializes in affordable insurance, including boat and watercraft insurance!) Before you and your family head out to the beach, the lake, or the pool again, make sure your kids are water-ready for fun in the sun!

Some background on drowning

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 10 people die from drowning each day in the United States. With proper safeguards, drowning is completely preventable. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for all people, and the second leading cause of injury death for children aged 1-14.

One in five people who die from drowning in the United States each year are children aged 14 and younger. Sadly, more young children (1-4 years) die from drowning than any other cause of death in the United States, with the exception of birth defects. In fact, drowning is one of the top 10 leading causes of death for children in every region of the world.

More ER visits

For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for submersion injuries. More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments require hospitalization or are transferred for further care. These non-fatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning. Don’t become a statistic. Be water smart before you head out by following these safety tips.

Approved swim programs in the US

The best prevention for avoiding water-related injuries or death is to teach your kids to swim. Swimming skills help to reduce the risk of drowning among children of all ages. Still, many people don’t have basic swimming skills.

Here is a list of Red Cross swim programs that offer free or reduced price lessons around the US.

Life jackets save lives

In the absence of swim lessons or alongside them, life jackets must be worn in the US for everyone on a boat or watercraft aged 14 or younger. If life jackets were worn by all ages, regardless of water-readiness, most drowning deaths could be prevented. Studies suggest that half of all boating deaths might be prevented with the use of life jackets. Be sure to use U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets!

Learn CPR

CPR performed immediately upon removal from the water has improved outcomes in drowning victims. The more quickly CPR is started, the better the chance of saving a life. You could save someone in the time it takes for paramedics to arrive! The American Heart Association offers CPR courses across the US. Here is a link to approved programs teaching this valuable skill:

Know before you go – Here are a few more tips to keep you safe

The silent killer

Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should be close enough to reach the child at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.

Buddies are best

Always swim with a buddy. Use the Buddy System. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards when possible.

Beware of pool toys

Don’t use air-filled or foam toys, such as noodles, water wings, or inner-tubes, instead of life jackets. These are not safety devices. These toys aren’t properly designed to keep swimmers safe.


Avoid drinking alcohol while swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising young children in the event of an emergency. You want to be your best while near or in the water!

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