Randall Cunningham’s 2-year-old drowns

Christian Cunningham, age 2, son of ex-NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, was found unresponsive in a backyard hot tub. An unidentified woman at the house with several other children found the boy about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and began trying to resuscitate him. He died a short time later at a Las Vegas hospital. Police are calling the death accidental.

Summer is once again upon us, making it important to review some important information about drowning from Safekids.org:

Key Facts
•    Each year, more than 830 children ages 14 and under die as a result of unintentional drowning.
•    On average, an annual 3,600 injuries occur to children due to a near-drowning incident.
•    Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4 years and children 10 to 14 years. For infants less than 1 year, drowning is the third leading cause of death.
•    In 2006, near-drowning incidents in the pool were responsible for 3,703 injuries to children less than 5 years of age.

Where, When and How
•    Home swimming pools are the most common site for a drowning to occur
for a child between the ages 1 to 4 years.
•    According to a national study of drowning-related incidents involving children, a parent or caregiver claimed to be supervising the child in nearly 9 out of 10 child drowning-related deaths.
•    In the summer, between May and August, drowning deaths among children increase 89 percent over the rest of the year.
•    Approximately 75 percent of pool submersion deaths and 60 percent of pool submersion injuries occur at a home
•    16 percent of drowning deaths in children under 5 years of age are at a family or friend’s pool while 17 percent of deaths occur at a public, community or neighbor pool.

Pool Submersion Locations for Deaths to Children ages 0-5 (2002-2004)

•    The majority of infant (less than 1 year old) drowning deaths happen in bathtubs, buckets or toilets.
•    Recreational boating accidents caused 11 drowning deaths in 2004; more than half of the children were not wearing personal flotation devices or life jackets.

•    Children ages 4 and under have the highest drowning death rate (two times greater than other age groups) and account for 80 percent of home drownings.
•    Male children have a drowning rate twice that of female children.
•    Black children ages 5 to 14 have a drowning rate three times that of their white counterparts.
•    Low-income children are at greater risk from non-swimming pool drownings.

Proven Interventions
•    Four-sided isolation fencing around home pools could prevent 50 percent to 90 percent of childhood drownings and near-drownings.      When used properly, door alarms, pool alarms and automatic pool covers, add an extra layer of protection.
•    From 1999 to 2003, it is estimated that 85 percent of boating-related drownings could have been prevented if the victim had been wearing a personal flotation device.   In 2003, 62 percent of children ages 14 and under who drowned in reported recreational boating accidents were not wearing PFDs or life jackets.
•    Educational efforts focused on PFDs and safe boating practices are effective in increasing PFD usage.

For more information:

Drowning prevention
Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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