As more Texans swim and boat this summer to beat the heat, officials at Austin Public Health remind everyone to stay safe from the risk of injury and drowning. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the May/June Travis County Medical Society Journal, Austin Public Health summarizes local data on unintentional drowning. The publication can be found at: http://www.tcms.com/TCMS_Journal/.
From 2007 to 2016, there were 140 deaths of Travis County residents due to unintentional drowning and submersion, an average of 14 deaths per year. Men have a rate of injury-related death due to drowning and submersion that is more than twice as high as women. One in six of the deaths were children age 14 years and younger. More than half (56%) the drowning deaths of children were between the ages of 1 and 4 years.
Children age 14 years and under are more likely to drown in swimming pools than adolescents and adults. In children 14 years and under, swimming pools accounted for over half (52%) the deaths. Adolescents (age 15-19) and adults age 20 and older are more likely to drown in natural water than in other locations.
Drowning prevention requires multiple layers of protection, such as physical barriers to prevent access to pool or spa areas, supervision for children and adults, swimming skills, life jackets and emergency response skills such as CPR. The local organization Colin’s Hope offers trainings, water safety cards, signage and webinars at www.colinshope.org .