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Drowning is a leading cause of death for boys worldwide

May 30, 2012|By Mary MacVean
  • Drowning is a leading cause of death for boys.
Drowning is a leading cause of death for boys. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

More than 500,000 people around the world die each year from drowning, according to the World Health Organization.  That does not include people who die in floods or boating accidents, the agency says.

With the start of summer, more families will be at beaches, lakes and pools.

Drowning is a leading cause of death worldwide for boys ages 5 to 14, and in the United States it is the second-leading cause of injury-related death for children 1 to 4. Among the risk factors aside from age and gender are alcohol use, low income, poor education, risky behavior and lack of supervision, according to a report in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Over the weekend, a 6-year-old girl died in an apparent drowning at a home in La Cañada Flintridge, officials said. An investigation was underway.

The journal notes that when a lifeguard is present, fewer than 6% of rescued people need medical attention, and 0.5% need CPR. Untrained rescuers should  provide help to a struggling person from outside the water, using a pole or branch, for example, the journal says.

The journal discusses various forms of response to a person rescued.

“Every drowning signals the failure of the most effective intervention -- namely, prevention,” the journal says.

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