AAP Statement Urges Drowning Prevention Efforts

Revised statement addresses drain entrapment, inflatable pools, swim lessons for toddlers
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- With drowning a leading cause of accidental death in children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging pediatricians to actively educate and counsel parents and support community drowning prevention efforts in a revised policy statement published online May 24 in Pediatrics.

Jeffrey Weiss, M.D., and colleagues on the AAP's Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention, write that drowning was the second leading cause of unintentional-injury death among U.S. children aged 1 to 19 years during 2000 to 2006, with an overall fatality rate of 1.32 per 100,000 in 2006. The AAP has revised its previous policy statement on drowning to address the World Health Organization's new classification of drowning; incidents related to children's bodies or hair becoming trapped or tangled in drains; the dangers of inflatable, portable pools; and the possible benefit of swimming lessons for children younger than 4 years of age.

The new policy statement recommends that pediatricians counsel families and distribute educational materials; reinforce the importance of parental supervision; urge pool fencing, alarms and covers; recommend swimming lessons for children; recommend knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation; urge that life jackets be available and worn in watercraft; recommend swimming with lifeguards present; and support community efforts to require pool fencing, lifeguards and safety regulations, and prohibit alcohol use at public swimming areas.

"Drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death in children. In 2006, approximately 1,100 U.S. children younger than 20 years died from drowning. A number of strategies are available to prevent these tragedies. As educators and advocates, pediatricians can play an important role in the prevention of drowning," the authors write.

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