Chantal Mendes, MD; Jonathan Eisenberg, MD; Stephanie Spanos, MD; Michael Johnson, MD, MS
In my 4th year of medical school, a boy drowned in the lake near my house. It was a shocking event at the time because my perception had been that drowning was a rare tragedy, more abundant and dramatized on television than in reality. However, during my training, I have learned that drowning remains a significant cause of death in children. Although mortality rates have been trending downward in recent years, CDC data from 2019 shows that drowning is still the leading cause of accidental injury death in children aged one to four and remains one of the top three leading causes of accidental injury death in children of all ages over one year. Children under the age of 14 account for one out of every five drowning deaths and there are approximately ten deaths per day due to drowning. It is important to note that these reported numbers relate to mortality rate alone and do not include morbidity from drowning such as neurological deficits or sequelae from a drowning event. The full extent of injury secondary to submersion is difficult to know as data gathering is challenging due to misinformation that persists surrounding drowning among the public, government agencies and even the medical community.