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Children's Drowning Injuries, Deaths Decline: Study
Date:1/16/2012

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- More than 1,000 children die from drowning in the United States each year and another 5,000 are injured, but these casualties have declined dramatically since the early 1990s, a new study shows.

The number of children who died annually from drowning after being admitted to a hospital declined 42 percent between 1993 and 2008. Total trips to the hospital after drowning-related incidents declined by 51 percent among children during that time, researchers found.

"There have been efforts at education from a variety of groups," said study author Stephen Bowman, an assistant professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "One would think that those messages are getting across."

"We need to keep up our diligence to continue to reduce drowning-related deaths and injuries," he added.

The study, published online and in the February issue of Pediatrics, used the National Inpatient Sample, a vast database compiled by a consortium of about 1,000 hospitals.

Drowning injuries are the second leading cause of accidental trauma in children in the United States. Only car accidents injure more children, Bowman said. Nonfatal drowning often results in brain damage and long-term disability, according to the study.

Breaking down different levels of risk, the study found that children less than 4 years old are most likely to die in drowning incidents, usually in bathtubs or after falling into water. Older children are more likely to drown while swimming, according to research cited in the study, with the risk rising in warmer regions of the South and West that have longer swimming seasons.

Boys, meanwhile, are four to six times more likely than girls to suffer a drowning injury, possibly because they drink alcohol while swimming or overestimate their swimming skills, according to study
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