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Family

African-American Kids at Highest Risk of Drowning

Little Girl Swimming

Posted by Tara White on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In August 2010, six kids between the age of 13 and 18 died in Shreveport, LA in a drowning accident while trying to save a friend that slid into deep water.

In 2006, Wanda Butts of Toledo, OH lost her 16 year old son to a drowning accident because he did not know how to swim and because of her fear of water, she kept him away from water as a child.

According to USA Swimming, 70% of African-American children cannot swim. Their survey finds that African-American kids between the age of 5 and 14 are three times more likely to drown than white children in the same age range.

CDC reports that every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. They also report that between 2000 and 2007, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans across all ages was 1.3 times that of whites. The fatal drowning rate of African American children ages 5 to 14 is 3.1 times that of white children in the same age range.

Why are African-American children more at risk? Many cultural and historical factors explain why. They include:

We must seek out the city and state resources to prevent such tragedies. Participation in swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children age 1 to 4. Also, bystander CPR has been shown to improve the outcomes in drowning victims (which is another story).

Drowning can be prevented by responsible adults supervising young children while in the bath, swimming pool, or playing around water. Use a buddy system by always having someone with you. Swim where there is a certified lifeguard. Learn CPR. CPR skills can make a difference in someone’s life. Most importantly, have your child participate in formal swimming lessons. Check with your city’s Parks and Recreation Department for free or low-cost lessons.

For resources to help keep your kids safe visit www.SafeKids.org.


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