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« 5 Ways to Protect Your Children from Swimming Pool Dangers | Main | Hebrew National Hot Dogs Not Kosher, Lawsuit Claims Fraud »

Drowning is No. 1 Cause of Death for Kids 4 and Under: CDC

As swimming pool season gets underway, a new report finds drowning is the No. 1 accidental cause of death for children 4 years and younger.

But there are some simple steps you can take to help prevent children from drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 3,880 people die from accidental drowning each year, with death rates highest for children 4 years and younger, the CDC reports. That makes drownings the No. 1 cause of death for this age group, second only to birth defects, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Among nonfatal drownings, children under 4 comprised more than 52% of emergency-room visits between 2005-09, the CDC found.

Summer weekends saw the most child drowning accidents. More than 57% of nonfatal drownings, and 46% of fatal cases, took place over weekends in June, July, and August, the CDC found. More than half the accidents took place in swimming pools.

To prevent drowning accidents, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests adults should:

  • Block access to swimming pools, preferably by a fence at least 4 feet high.
  • Be more vigilant in supervising children around swimming pools.
  • If using an inflatable or plastic pool, empty it and turn it upside-down after each use.
  • Start swimming lessons early. Formal swimming lessons can reduce a child's risk of drowning by as much as 88%, according to the CDC.

In some cases, however, a child's drowning in a pool could be due to negligence, such as a lifeguard's actions (or lack of action) or a failure to adhere to state or federal pool-safety laws. An experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney can help figure out who's responsible for a drowning accident, and can help pursue compensation if possible.

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