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Multiple Layers of Protection Recommended to Prevent Drowning

MONDAY, March 18, 2019 -- Multiple layers of protection are recommended to prevent drowning, according to a policy statement published online March 15 in Pediatrics.

Noting that drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death in children, claiming the lives of almost 1,000 U.S. children younger than 20 years in 2017, Sarah A. Denny, M.D., from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, and colleagues developed recommendations for preventing drowning.

The authors note that certain populations are at increased risk of drowning, including children aged 0 for 4 years and adolescents (aged 15 to 19 years) and those with underlying medical conditions, including seizure disorders, autism, and cardiac arrhythmias. Multiple layers of protection are recommended to prevent drowning, with five major evidence-based interventions recommended: four-sided pool fencing, life jackets, swim lessons, supervision, and lifeguards. To reduce mortality associated with drowning, the Drowning Chain of Survival should be followed: prevent drowning, recognize distress, provide floatation, remove from water, and provide care as needed. Parents and caregivers should be aware of drowning risks associated with hazards in the home (e.g., bathtubs, buckets of water, toilets, etc.) and should never leave young children alone or in the care of another child while they are in or near water.

"Pediatricians should know the leading causes of drowning in their location so they can appropriately tailor their prevention guidance to caregivers," the authors write. "Pediatricians can provide specific targeted messages by age, gender, high risk of drowning, and geographical location."

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Posted: March 2019

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