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NC Department of Health and Human Services
N.C. DPH: Chronic Disease and Injury Section
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Injury and Violence Prevention Branch

Drowning and Water Related Injuries

According to the N.C. Injury and Violence Prevention Branch's Epidemiology and Surveillence Unit, there were 147 fatal unintentional drownings in North Carolina in 2010.

Children and young adults are often the victims of drowning. Careful supervision of children when they are in or around water is critically important to prevent drowning, but the reality is that even the most vigilant caregiver can become momentarily distracted. The Injury and Violence Prevention Branch 2013 Unintentional Drownings among Children Report (PDF, 974 KB) gives an update on the state of drownings in North Carolina.

The CDC’s Water Related Injury Page offers the following prevention tips as well as other information on drowning and water-related injury. 

To help prevent water-related injuries:

  • Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children.
  • Always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards whenever possible.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
  • Learn to swim. Be aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend swimming classes as the primary means of drowning prevention for children younger than 4. Constant, careful supervision and barriers such as pool fencing are necessary even when children have completed swimming classes.
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In the time it might take for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could make a difference in someone’s life. CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to improve outcomes in drowning victims.
  • Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles”, or inner-tubes, in place of life jackets (personal flotation devices). These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.