With 23 miles of beach frontage and 126 navigable miles of canals, it's not surprising that drowning deaths are common in Broward County.
In 2005 there were 47 drowning deaths, in 2006 there were 62 drowning deaths, and in 2007 there were 49 reported drowning deaths. The general epidemiologic pattern of these cases, however, is very similar, with most of the drownings occurring in freshwater (52 percent) and the remainder in canals and saltwater (48 percent).
In 2007, residential pools claimed 21 lives, while canals accounted for 11 lives and the ocean, seven. The other four fatalities occurred in lakes and rivers. The vast majority of drownings continue to be accidental, with suicide accounting for five deaths and one being ruled a homicide.
According to the Broward County's Medical Examiner, there were a total of seven drowning deaths of children ages 4 through 7 in Broward County from 2005 to 2008 — an average of fewer than two deaths a year. The majority of these drownings occurred in residential pools while children were unattended. Unprotected in-ground pools are 83 percent more likely to be involved in drownings than pools with complete four-sided isolation fencing. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water. For every child who drowns, four others are hospitalized for near-drowning, and as many as three suffer brain damage.
Did You Know...
- The majority of drownings occur in residential pools while children are unattended.
- For every child who drowns, four others are hospitalized for near-drowning, and as many as three suffer brain damage.
- Fifteen percent of children admitted for near-drowning die in the hospital.
- Typical medical costs for a near-drowning victim can range from $75,000 for initial emergency-room treatment to $180,000 a year for long-term care, while a near-drowning that results in brain damage can ultimately cost more than $4.5 million.
- Unprotected in-ground pools are 83 percent more likely to be involved in drowning than pools with complete four-sided isolation fencing.
- The majority of children who drown in swimming pools were last seen in the home, had been missing from sight for less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning.
Play it safe and teach your children to swim.