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Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for young children, with an estimated 1,100 deaths per year for children ages 1 to 19 years old. Public health officials have contributed substantial time and energy to reducing this number, and their hard work might have finally paid off. According to recent reports, the number of children admitted to the hospital for drowning accidents is on the decline.

The official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics published statistics that hospital admissions for drowning accidents have been cut in half over the past 16 years. For example, in 1993 3,700 children between the ages of 1 and 19 were admitted compared to just 1,800 in 2008. Public health officials attribute the decline to better safety standards compared to 1993, including easier access to life vests in grocery stores, better knowledge about drowning risks because of the Internet and other technology, and the fact that more children know how to swim now than in the past.

Additionally, public health campaigns have focused on placing fencing around private swimming areas, the use of life vests, and lifeguard patrol on public beaches. However, the researchers also urge parents not to become complacent about water safety; they place less emphasis on the importance of public health campaigns and more on better parent education. Ultimately, a body of water as small as the bathtub can lead to the drowning of a small child–a needless tragedy that can be prevented with supervision.

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