According to the study, paediatric hospitalisations from drowning-related incidents declined 51 per cent from 1993 to 2008. The rates declined significantly for all ages and for both genders, although drowning-related hospitalisations remained higher for boys at every age. Hospitalisation rates also decreased significantly across the United States, with the greatest decline in the South. Despite the steep decline, the South still experienced the highest rate of paediatric hospitalisations for drowning.
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death of children age 1 to 19 in the U.S. For every paediatric drowning death, another two children are hospitalised for non-fatal drowning injuries.
"We found a significant decline in the rate of paediatric drowning hospitalisations, which is consistent with documented decreases in paediatric deaths from drowning," said Doctor Stephen Bowman. "Our findings provide evidence of a true decrease in drowning-related incidents, rather than simply a shift towards more children dying before reaching a hospital."
The study authors note that over the study time period, important public and private efforts to reduce the risk of drowning in children have been promoted, such as installation of four-sided pool fencing, the use of personal flotation devices, and the endorsement by public health authorities of childhood swim lessons. Reductions in bathtub drowning hospitalizations, most common among children younger than 4, may be a result of targeted injury prevention efforts aimed at parents and caregivers of young children that encourage vigilance in supervision and offer education on the risks of infant bathtub seats.
"Continued funding and support for these efforts offer the potential to further reduce drowning hospitalisations in children," said Bowman. Drowning accounts for over 1,000 paediatric deaths annually in U.S. and over 5,000 related injuries. Total lifetime costs associated with drowning were estimated to exceed 5.3 billion Dollars in 2000, including 2.6 billion Dollars for children ages 0 to 14 years.
MEDICA.de; Source: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health