Swimming pools pose a much greater threat to black children and teens than they do to other kids.
The research, discovered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that black children ages 5 to 19 drown in swimming pools at a rate more than 5 times that of white children.
The racial differences were smaller for drownings in lakes or other bodies of water. Experts think that’s because relatively few blacks go boating or participate in other water activities.
Drowning is a major cause of death in children and young adults, and researchers have long observed a higher rate in African-Americans. The report released Thursday looked at racial differences in far greater detail, by age and by where youths drown.
Among whites, drowning rates peak in toddlers but then decline dramatically around age 5 and stay down. Experts think that’s a result of swimming lessons kicking in.
Among blacks, the drowning rate for toddlers is lower, but it doesn’t drop off the same way as children get older.
An earlier study showed that nearly 60 percent of black children surveyed were unable to swim or felt uncomfortable in the deep end of a pool, compared to 31 percent of white kids.
Experts believe this stems from cultural differences. More white families in general spend recreational time at spools or beaches than blacks, making sure their kids can swim.
According to the CDC study, about 21,000 children and young adults drowned between 1999 and 2010. Overall, the black drowning rate was about 40 percent higher than the rate for white. The rate for Hispanics was roughly the same as whites, and Asians were slightly lower.
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