Drowning is a form of death caused by being suffocated with water or another liquid. Near drowning is the survival of a drowning event where the person is unconsciousness (passed out) or breathes in a dangerously large amount of water, and can cause serious problems, including death, later on. That means that near drowning also requires help from a doctor.
Drowning happens when a person spends too much time underwater or with their nose and mouth submerged in a liquid to the point where they are unable to breathe and their lungs are full of liquid.
In many countries, drowning is one of the biggest causes of death for children under 14 years old. Children have drowned in wading pools and even bathtubs. Many people drown in countries where there is a lot of water, especially if they swim in dangerous waters. For example, in the United Kingdom there are about 450 drownings each year (that is: 1 per 150,000 of its people), and in the United States there are about 6,500 drownings (or around 1 per 50,000 of its people). Drowning related injuries are the fifth most likely cause of accidental death in the US. In some places, drowning is the second most likely cause of injury and death for children.
There are many ways in which drowning can be prevented. Some examples are:
- Watching - drowning can be silent, so this is why watching the person is very important. It is even more important to watch children and infants. A baby can drown in a bathtub. Many people choose to take their children to swim in areas that have security cameras or lifeguards.
- Learning to swim - this is one of the most important ways to prevent drowning. Children should be taught to swim when they are less than 8 years old.
- Pool fencing - Private pools should always be fenced when they are not being used if there are children around so they do not fall inside the pool, and so they don't use the pool without another adult watching them.
- Alcohol - a drunk person has a greater chance of drowning that someone who isn't drunk.
- Lifejackets - people that cannot swim should use a lifejacket so they float on the surface.
- Diving - a person can be knocked out and drown if they dive into a pool and hit their head on the bottom. In worse cases, this may cause someone to be paralyzed, or even die.
- Avoiding dangerous water - nobody should swim in waters that have large waves and fast currents. The speed of a current can be determined by how quickly items on the surface of the water move.