7 % of all injury-related deaths are caused by accidents that occur in and around the swimming pool area. In fact, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of accidental death in the world, making swimming one of the most dangerous recreational activities we partake in.
In summary, teenagers are the most susceptible to injuries and deaths from diving-related accidents, with 6,500 cases reported every year. The bulk of swimming pool injuries occur in in-ground swimming pools. Over half the reported swimming pool injuries and deaths occur when alcohol and drugs are involved, which is usually at a pool party. 80 % of the reported swimming pool accidents take place in water that is 4 feet or less in depth.
Primary Causes of Swimming Pool Injuries
Unexpectedly, 70 % of all the injuries sustained at the swimming pool are head and neck injuries. These are sustained from headfirst dives either from the board or from the side of the pool and are often fatal.
Cannonballs and random jumps cause about 18 % of the total number of pool-related injuries reported every year. Although not often fatal, these usually cause cuts and bruises, or sometimes fractured bones. These are by far the most common as even professional swimmers fall victim every once in a while.
Dangerous flips and handstands result in about 12 % of the swimming-pool related injuries every year. Most swimming pools have strict regulations that ban such “horseplay” in and around the pool area.
While it is easy to point a finger at the diving board, the Spinal Cord Injury Information Network concluded that diving boards are only responsible for about 10 % of all swimming pool diving accidents.
Swimming Pool Drowning Deaths
Statistics released from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control show that the figures about annual deaths caused by drowning in swimming pools, are staggering. An estimated 372,000 drowning deaths are reported every year, with about 3,536 people drowning every year in the United States alone.
According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children between the ages of 1 and 4. On average, 390 children lose their lives in the swimming pool or the spa every year, according to the Consumer Product Safety commission. In fact, statistics show that 76 % of the deaths caused by drowning in the United States annually involve children below the age of 5 years, while those below the age of 3 years make up for 67 % of all swimming pool drowning deaths.
In relation to swimming pool injuries, the CDC reported that for every child who drowns, 5 more are rushed to the emergency room with a swimming pool-related injury. Almost half of the swimming pool incidences (47 %) have unsurprisingly occurred at residential pools, while 27 % have taken place at public swimming pools and spas.
From these statistics, it is evident that some of the most pertinent risk factors include age, with children being affected the most, gender, where males are more susceptible to drowning than females are, proximity to water, natural disasters such as flooding and alcohol and drug abuse.
Adhering to the various swimming pool regulations and poolside rules is so far the only way we can prevent these unnecessary deaths and injuries that occur in swimming pools.