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Rates of Hospitalization for Drowning Decline Over 16 Years


In the U.S., drowning accounts for nearly 1,100 deaths of children aged 1 to 19 years each year, making it the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in this age group. For every pediatric drowning death, another two children are hospitalized after nonfatal drowning injuries.

In the study, "Trends in US Pediatric Drowning Hospitalizations, 1993-2008," in the February 2012 Pediatrics (published online Jan. 16), researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Arkansas Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Center analyzed an inpatient hospital database and found rates of pediatric hospitalizations associated with drowning declined 49 percent during the study period, from 4.7 hospitalizations per 100,000, to 2.4 per 100,000. The hospitalization rate for males remained consistently higher than the rate for females, though rates declined for all age groups and for both males and females. Hospitalization rates decreased across all geographic regions of the U.S., with the greatest decline in the South. Rates of fatal drowning hospitalization declined from 0.5 deaths per 100,000 to 0.3 deaths per 100,000. The study offers benchmarks that can be used to judge future efforts in drowning prevention and to target interventions to high-risk areas. 


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.