Drowning-related hospitalizations could be more dangerous than many of us realize. According to a new study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 National Conference & Exhibition, one in every ten children who end up in the hospital due a drowning incident end up dying. Sadly, this occurs even in spite of focused medical care provided by hospital staff.

Water safety should be a priority for everyone. You can never quite know when drowning danger will strike. As we often point out, drowning is a leading cause of death in children under the age of four.

In today’s post, let’s take a look at the findings from this new research. Afterwards, the best ways to avoid drowning-related hospitalizations altogether and go over some additional safety information.

Drowning-Related Hospitalizations and Death: Understanding the Study

To determine the added risks of drowning-related hospitalizations, the research team needed an appropriate sample set. To accomplish this, they analyzed a large, population-based inpatient hospitalization database. This information came from the years 2003 to 2016. It focused on young patients up to 20 years of age who had been hospitalized due to drowning.

According to the abstract, the researchers discovered a number of interesting factors that could increase the risk of death for drowning-related hospitalizations. Some of the major risk factors included particular demographics. Specifically, those who are under five years of age, male, and Caucasian are most affected. The other grouping of people who were found to be at greater was victims who have public health insurance, like Medicaid.

In addition to these broad predictors, the study also identified some other reasons for fatal complications for drowning-related hospitalizations in young people. After a trip to the hospital, the research indicated, a person under 20 may be in danger of experiencing several other life-threatening ailments related to the drowning.

These often fatal complications include:

  • cerebral edema,
  • acute kidney injury,
  • seizures,
  • cardiac arrhythmia,
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome,
  • and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.

Other Factors

Beyond the worries listed above, there are a number of other concerns for young people and drowning-related hospitalizations. Some of the conditions that resulted in an increased risk of death included patients with a history of autism or intellectual disability and having needed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, or therapeutic hypothermia.

Drowning Can Happen at Any Time and in Any Place

One other data point that the researchers noticed was when and where the drownings tended to occur. According to their findings, drowning-related hospitalizations were most likely to happen during weekends. Of these, most were a result of an incident in a swimming pool. As for location of the drowning incident, the research shows that the drownings occurred more frequently in the West and South of the United States than in the Northeast or Midwest. To that end, each month we at Life Saver Pool Fence share a constantly updating set of nationwide drowning stats and maps from our friends at USA Swimming. This helps us to keep constant tabs on the ages and locations where drownings occur.

According to the press release for this research, the authors hope that these findings can help to provide better in-hospital care for children admitted for drowning and to increase awareness that will prevent child drownings. We couldn’t agree with these goals more.

Beyond installing a pool fence, we believe that education is critical to drowning prevention. Here are some handy blog posts that can help to point you in the right direction for drowning safety around your swimming pool and beyond: