A new study shows that more children are being rushed to emergency rooms across the country for swimming pool injuries than they were two decades ago.
Our Tuscaloosa swimming pool injury lawyers were troubled to learn that there were more than 1.5 million injuries from swimming in the U.S. involving people of all ages from 1990 and 2008. That number has increased yearly from roughly 80,000 back in 1990 to 93,000 in 2008. That’s an overall increase of 16.25 percent.
When the researchers broke it down to examine only those injuries to children, the results were even more dramatic. For children 7 years of age or older, the rate of swimming pool injuries increased by 30 percent. It went from 9 injuries for every 10,000 to 11 injuries for every 10,000. Children under the age of 17 accounted for almost 60 percent of all swimming-related injuries.
Researchers say that means every six minutes, we have a swimming injury in this country. In Alabama, the rate is likely higher because our weather permits more outdoor swimming activity throughout the year, as compared to many northern states.
The study, published in the the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, found that one of the greatest contributors to swimming injuries was lack of supervision. As researchers pointed out, if a child slips and falls on the playground, he usually won’t risk death. However, a slip and fall into the swimming pool can prove fatal.
In reaching their conclusions, the study authors culled data from the National Electronic Surveillance System, with a focus on people who swam a minimum of six times annually. For every 100,000 swimmers, there were 18 serious injuries among children between the ages of 7 and 17 years. For those older than 17, the rate was 9 for every 100,000.
Additionally, swimming pools are apparently far more dangerous than other types of water bodies, as nearly 90 percent occurred either around or in swimming pools. Most of those injuries involved punctures, bruises, cuts and scrapes. The most common areas for injury were the head and neck, followed by the lower body.
Children under the age of 7 who suffered swimming pool injuries were more likely than others to suffer very serious injuries that required admission to the hospital or result in death.
Part of the reason for this uptick has to do with the fact that swimming is becoming extremely popular. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that it is the third-most popular recreational activity in America, with more than 300 million Americans engaging in it at some point each year.
As one psychologist from the University of Alabama at Birmingham was quoted as saying, as summer nears, it’s not so much that swimming should be discouraged as the risks need to be more readily understood.
Basic swimming safety rules include not drinking while swimming, never swimming alone and being mindful of strong currents that occur in natural bodies of water.
Swimming Injuries In Children: Emergency Room Visits Have Increased (STUDY), April 1, 2013, By Linda Thrasybule, MyHealthNewsDaily