The facts and FAQs on this page were provided for SNCDPC by Dr. Justin Sempsrott, emergency medicine resident physician at the University of Nevada Medical Center in Las Vegas.  Dr. Sempsrott is also a member of the executive board of Lifeguards Without Borders.

Click here to download a PDF version of this web page.

Drowning is defined as “the PROCESS of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid.” There is NO such thing as “near drowning.”

  1. Drowning is common.
    1. In the US, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children aged 1 to 14.
      1. #1 is car collisions.
      2. EVERY DAY in the US, ~11 people DIE from drowning.
      3. EVERY DAY in the US, ~ 22 people survive drowning with SEVERE BRAIN DAMAGE.
    2. More children die from drowning than from guns, falls, burns, suffocation, fires, and poisoning.
    3. More children die from drowning than from guns, burns, falls, poisoning, and bike crashes COMBINED.
  2. Toys can be dangerous.
    1. Air-filled or foam toys are not safety devices. Don’t use air-filled or foam toys such as “water wings,” “noodles,” or inner-tubes instead of life jackets.
    2. These toys are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
    3. The American Academy of Pediatrics actually has a specific policy AGAINST water wings.
  3. How old does my child have to be to swim?
    1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swim lessons for all kids aged 4 & up.
    2. Children aged 1-3 who have had formal swim lessons are less likely to drown later in life. However, swim lessons should be an individual decision for each family.
  4. Drowning doesn’t look like drowning on TV.
    1. A drowning child WILL NOT make any noise.
    2. A child can only struggle for 20 seconds before they become submerged.
    3. Irreversible brain damage begins in 4-6 minutes.
  5. Multiple layers of protection are required, not just one.
    1. Follow the ABCDs of Drowning Prevention.

Click here for Southern Nevada child drowning statistics and facts.