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Drowning major cause of death for little ones

As you plan your summers for your kids, please, please get them swimming lessons. Here's why, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Drowning results in more deaths among children 1-4 years of age than any cause except birth defects, but early swimming lessons are effective in reducing this risk. In the US from 2005-2009, an average of 3,880 people died from unintentional drowning each year and more than 5,700 received emergency department care for nonfatal drowning. Overall, the death rate for males was four times that of females. Children 4 years old or younger had the highest rates of drowning; higher than any cause except birth defects.  Half of these incidents occurred in swimming pools. Finally, half of all nonfatal drowning victims treated in emergency departments required hospital admission or transfer for further care.  Because swimming pools (often at their own home) remain high risk locations for children 4 years old or younger and research shows that early formal swimming lessons reduce risk, public health and medical professionals should encourage and support swimming lessons as a life-saving skill along with other proven interventions.

(S-R archives photo)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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