||More than one in five fatal drowning victims are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.|
||Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).|
Who is most at risk?
||Males are more likely than females to die from unintentional drownings in the United States.|
||Certain ethnic groups:|
- The fatal drowning rate of African American children ages 5 to 14 is 3.1 times that of white children in the same age range. For American Indian and Alaskan Native children, the fatal drowning rate is 2.2 times higher than for white children.
- Factors such as the physical environment (e.g., access to swimming pools) and a combination of social and cultural issues (e.g., valuing swimming skills and choosing recreational water-related activities) may contribute to these racial differences in drowning rates.
||Never leave a child unattended in and around water. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water in the same time it takes to answer the doorbell or telephone.|
||Never leave a child unsupervised in or around a swimming pool. Play flotation devices and waterwings are not a substitute for a life jacket or supervision. CPR training is suggested for pool owners and water enthusiasts.|
||Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates, that completely surround the swimming pool. The fencing should prevent direct access from the house and yard.|
||When boating, always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD. It is estimated that 85% of boating-relating drownings could have been saved if the victim had been wearing a PFD. Air-filled "swimming aides" are not considered safety devices and are not a substitute for PFDs.|
Children under age 10 are required to wear a life jacket while boating on Minnesota waters (not when the boat is tied up at a dock or permanent mooring).
To learn more about the life jacket law for kids in Minnesota, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/boatwater/pfd_childlaw.html.
For additional information contact the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at (651) 296-6157.