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Drowning Deaths have Fallen for all But Seniors, CDC Reports

Update Date: Apr 16, 2014 11:38 AM EDT

With warmer weather approaching, more and more people will flock to pools and beaches. Even though pools and beaches might be a fun way to cool down, they are not always safe. According to a new federal report, unintentional drowning death rates have fallen for all age groups except seniors. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remind people to stay safe near deep waters and strong currents.

For this report, the researchers analyzed the deaths caused by accidental drowning. They found that from 1999 to 2010, death rates fell by an overall nine percent. In that time frame, there were a total of 46,419 deaths. The sharpest decline was seen in infants younger than one. Despite an overall reduction, one age group experienced a jump in death rates. For people between 45 and 84, the unintentional drowning death rate increased by almost 10 percent.

The report also found that more accidental deaths occurred on the weekends as opposed to the weekdays. In terms of gender, males were more likely to drown if they were out in natural water, such as a river or lake. The researchers added that for boys aged one to four, drowning was the leading cause of accidental death since 2005, surpassing car accidents. For females, their risk of accidental drowning was higher if they were in natural water, bathtubs and swimming pools.

"It was a surprise to me that it was 48 percent higher on the weekend," report author, Dr. Jiaquan Xu, an epidemiologist at the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the CDC, said.

"The CDC report highlights the need for qualified supervision in all aquatic settings, especially natural water," added Tom Gill, a spokesperson for the U.S. Lifesaving Association, reported by WebMD. "Parents must maintain constant supervision over children in aquatic settings."

The researchers did not explain why the death rates have fallen for the majority of the age groups. However, over the past few years, more public health efforts have continued to stress the importance of maintaining a safe environment in pools and bathtubs for young children.

The report was published in the NCHS Data Brief.

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