What are the treatments for Drowning Prevention?
- The World Health Organization estimates that there are 359,000 drowning deaths worldwide each year. In the Unites States, the latest yearly statistics from the CDC reported more than 38,000 people had died from drowning.
- Statistics are unreliable in regard to those who survive a drowning episode. Many countries do not keep records of non-fatal drownings ("near" drowning)
- Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States. It is the second leading cause of accidental death in school-age children, and the number one cause of death in preschoolers.
- More than half of drowning deaths occur in swimming pools.
- One-quarter to one-third of drowning victims have had swimming lessons.
- Infants younger one year of age usually drown in bathtubs because they are not coordinated or strong enough to lift themselves or their heads out of the water.
- Children aged 1-4 most often drown in swimming pools.
- As children age, the percentage that drown in natural water such as rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans begins to increase. For those older than age 15, 65% of drownings occur in natural water.
- Alcohol is a factor in up to half of adolescent and adult drowning deaths.
Mammalian Dive Reflex
Drowning suffocation causes a lack of oxygen, resulting in death in only a few minutes. An exception to this rule appears in victims who have been suddenly and rapidly submerged into ice-cold water. Some of these victims have been reported to survive up to an hour underwater without any physical damage. This phenomenon is known as the mammalian dive reflex, which is activated when the face and body plunge into ice-cold water. The acute cooling results in the very quick slowing of body metabolism and diverts blood to the essential organs of the body, the heart, lungs, and brain. With very slow metabolism, the amount of residual oxygen in the blood stream may be enough to maintain basic organ function for many minutes.
The mammalian diving reflex is most well developed in children, and gradually decreases with age. The drowning victim may appear deceased since the heart may be beating so slowly that rescuers cannot count a heartbeat, and blood pressure may drop so low it cannot be detected. It is very important to begin resuscitation attempts in this situation and not presume that the victim is deceased.
The mammalian dive reflex situation does not apply to victims who have gradually cooled and have developed hypothermia or low body temperature.