Drowning Hospitalizations for Peds Down in Recent Years

Rates decreased for all ages; hospitalization rates remain higher for males than females

MONDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalization rates for pediatric drowning have decreased over the past 14 years among children of all ages, with males continuing to have higher hospitalization rates than females, according to a study published online Jan. 16 in Pediatrics.

To identify trends in pediatric drowning, Stephen M. Bowman, Ph.D., M.H.A., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues analyzed data (1993 to 2008) from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, an all-payer inpatient database, on all hospitalized children (aged 0 to 19).

The researchers found that there was a significant decrease in the estimated annual incidence rate of pediatric hospitalizations associated with drowning, from 4.7 to 2.4 per 100,000 over the study period. The rates decreased for males and females, and for all age groups. At each point in time, the hospitalization rates remained consistently higher for males than for females. There was a significant decrease in the rates of fatal drowning hospitalization, from 0.5 deaths per 100,000 in 1993 to 1994 to 0.3 in 2007 to 2008. There was no difference seen over time in the mean hospital length of stay.

"Although pediatric hospitalization rates for drowning have decreased over the past 14 years, drowning remains a significant public health problem," the authors write. "Our study provides national estimates of pediatric drowning hospitalizations that can be used as benchmarks to inform drowning prevention efforts and to help target interventions to high-risk areas."

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