African-American children more likely to drown - KMSP-TV

FOX Medical Team

African-American children more likely to drown

Posted: Updated:
DECATUR, Ga. -

Every day in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 10 people drown and two of them are children.

Accidental drowning is now the second leading cause of injury-related death in children, right behind motor vehicle accidents. Part of the problem is that many children lack basic swimming skills.

The CDC says the children at highest risk are boys, between the ages of one and four, and African American. The agency says Black children are almost three times more likely to drown that white children of the same age.

That’s why programs that teach children to respect – but not fear – the water may be lifesavers.

It's an odd place to fall in love. But when city kids hit the cool water here at the Samuel L. Jones Boys and Girls Club in Decatur, something almost magical happens. Katie Almand, with the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta says, “The majority of our kids come to us not knowing how to swim, most of them never having been near water. Some of them will cling to the side of the pool, won't even touch the water, and then by the end of the school year, they're swimming every day, they're jumping into the deep end.”

Each day 165 kids come here to have fun, but this is about more than fun. Almand says, “Drowning is a major, major cause of death for children, especially African American children. And that is the majority of what we serve here. So, they need to learn how to swim, they need to be comfortable in the water, it's fun for them, but it's also important, just for their safety."

By the age of three most children are ready to start learning to swim, says Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Pediatrician in Chief Jim Fortenberry. He says, “Families may have a tendency to overestimate their child's ability in the water, too. Even if they've had swimming lessons, that doesn't mean they're safe to go out on a lake by themselves or to go out in the pool by themselves at a young age."

Young children more likely to drown in pools, teens on open water, where they may over-estimate their swimming skills.

Dr. Fortenberry says it’s easy to get into trouble on lakes and rivers and oceans. He says, “You don't have edges to catch onto if you're having a little bit of a problem. The water tends not to be clear, so it's harder to see a child or teen if the go under.”

Fortenberry says if he could tell parents anything, it would be this: never take your eyes off your child around the water.

Drowning happens quickly and silently for children. Fortenberry says, “Nothing is more important than your child. Not that text message, not that phone call. Those things can all wait, your child can't wait.

  • More Health NewsMore>>

  • Is the discharge of two American Ebola patients safe? Doctor says yes

    Is the discharge of two American Ebola patients safe? Doctor says yes

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:13:10 GMT
    Dr. Kent Brantly walked into Thursday's press conference showing no signs of his almost month-long battle with the deadly Ebola virus.
    Dr. Kent Brantly walked into Thursday's press conference showing no signs of his almost month-long battle with the deadly Ebola virus.
  • Cancer survivor celebrates 5 year mark with donor

    Cancer survivor celebrates 5 year mark with donor

    Monday, August 18 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-08-18 22:08:02 GMT
    If Erin Blonshine ever wondered if her perfect match was out there, now she knows. His name: Johannes Saur. Blonshine, a 29-year-old teacher, says "It's very surreal to stand next to him and know that on the inside our immune systems match."
    If Erin Blonshine ever wondered if her perfect match was out there, now she knows. His name: Johannes Saur. Blonshine, a 29-year-old teacher, says "It's very surreal to stand next to him and know that on the inside our immune systems match."
  • Report: CDC scientist kept quiet about flu blunder

    Report: CDC scientist kept quiet about flu blunder

    An investigation into a potentially dangerous blunder at a government lab found that a scientist kept silent about the accident and revealed it only after other employees noticed something fishy.
    An investigation into a potentially dangerous blunder at a government lab found that a scientist kept silent about the accident and revealed it only after other employees noticed something fishy.
  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

  • SKYFOX Traffic

    Tips for navigating around Georgia Dome traffic

    Tips for navigating around Georgia Dome traffic

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:16 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:16:27 GMT
    For the next three years, if you plan to be anywhere near the Georgia Dome, expect delays and plan ahead. That's the word from officials as we head into fall, the Dome's busiest time of the year.
    For the next three years, if you plan to be anywhere near the Georgia Dome, expect delays and plan ahead. That's the word from officials as we head into fall, the Dome's busiest time of the year.
  • Good Day Atlanta Extra

    Paula Deen: 'I'm happier, more solid, I'm smarter'

    Paula Deen: 'I'm happier, more solid, I'm smarter'

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:14 AM EDT2014-08-20 15:14:12 GMT
    Celebrity chef Paula Deen says she is 'happier and smarter' after a controversial year in the spotlight. Deen joined Good Day's Paul Milliken to candidly discuss the lessons she's learned, and her hopes for the future.
    Celebrity chef Paula Deen says she is 'happier and smarter' after a controversial year in the spotlight. Deen joined Good Day's Paul Milliken to candidly discuss the lessons she's learned, and her hopes for the future.
  • CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL HEROESMore>>

  • Hospital Heroes

    Hospital Heroes

    Children's Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children's hospitals across the United States and Canada.  Click here for more on our local heroes!
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices