THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF THE DROWNING EPIDEMIC
An Observation of the Culture of Drowning
and the gap to bridge for Water Safety Education
- “Drowning is a neglected public health issue,” the World Health Organization
- Each year millions of dollars are spent to bring more people to water
- People who do not know that drowning is a leading cause of accidental death
- People who do not have the basic swimming abilities to save their own lives
- People who unknowingly support the “Stigma of Drowning”
- Then drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue
- And then millions of dollars continue to be spent to bring more people to water
- And the cycle continues to swirl around…
A new World Health Organization (WHO) report says that drowning remains a “neglected public health issue” that’s still happening with alarming frequency around the world and this news gets very little attention. So we have several factors that work in unison to stagnate any significant breakthroughs to reduce the overall number of drownings.
And this is how it works.
- Drowning is a neglected public health issue.
- Each year millions of dollars are spent to bring more people to water through beach restoration projects and open access projects.
- People who do not know that drowning is a leading cause of accidental death (CDC Statistics & WHO report). People do not know the Statistics – The Big Picture of Drowning – Drowning is the:
- Leading cause of accidental injury death for children 1-4
- Second leading cause of accidental injury death for children 1-14 (second only to car accidents)
- Fifth leading cause of accidental injury death for the Nation as a whole
- Third leading cause of accidental injury death worldwide
- It’s estimated that a person drowns every 90 seconds in the world today. In the United States, 10 people drown each day.
- If the public is not educated about the statistics, then they do not know the epidemic number of drownings occurring and will easily support the Stigma of Drowning.
- People who do not have the basic swimming ability to save their own lives in a water emergency (Red Cross Report) nor the swimming skills, swimming endurance, rescue training, and first aid and CPR skills to save a life; i.e. ‘would-be’ rescuers often become drowning victims attempting rescues.
- People who unknowingly support the Stigma of Drowning (i.e. Blame the Victim, Blame the parents or caregivers, or Blame it on Darwinism). People who support the Stigma have a false sense of security that “Drowning can’t happen to me because I know how to swim, I wouldn’t be that stupid; i.e. drowning only happens to stupid people, etc.
- Little money is allocated for water safety education and training.
- Drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue.
- Millions continue to be spent each year bringing more people to water.
HOW DO WE BREAK THIS CYCLE?
This vicious cycle of the drowning epidemic will continue unless a nationwide water safety school curriculum is implemented.
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (www.GLSRP.org) is pushing for a Water Safety School Curriculum to launch in the Great Lakes Region and then become a nationwide mode.
The GLSRP has taught over 139 Great Lakes Water Safety classes in 7 of the 8 Great Lakes states (WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, MN and PA ). The GLSRP has a comprehensive curriculum, but lacks funding to convert its curriculum into coloring booklets, training booklets, animation, and videos (Crowdrise Fundraiser).
SAFETY IN SCHOOLS TODAY
In schools today there are fire drills, tornado drills, active shooter drills, and even earthquake drills, but very little water safety education.
YET more school aged children will likely die drowning each year than in fires, tornadoes, school shootings, and earthquakes combined. Combined!
A Water Safety School Curriculum is the fastest approach to reach the largest audience and make a significant impact in the shortest amount of time. The curriculum would target elementary students, Junior High students, High School students, parents of each age group, and trainers of the curriculum.