CDC Reports Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Fatal Drownings for Young People

June 27, 2021

Drowning Remains a Leading Cause of Death for Children with Autism

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report this month detailing drowning statistics for people under the age of 29 years during the years 1999 – 2019. Some facts remained similar to previous reports. Drowning remains preventable and yet is still one of the three leading unintentional causes of death among those 29 years old and younger. While the rate of drowning deaths in this age group decreased from 1.5 to 1.2 per 100,000 population since the last reporting period, a new racial/ethnic disparity emerged. Compared to non-Hispanic White persons, the rate of drowning deaths was 2.0 times higher among American Indian or Alaska Native persons and 1.5 times higher among non-Hispanic Black persons. The CDC is calling for implementing and evaluating community-based interventions that include promoting basic swimming and water safety skills among the disproportionately affected racial/ethnic groups. This report is a timely reminder that water safety and basic swimming skills are extremely important for children and adults on the spectrum, especially now as summer vacations begin. Let’s not forget that drowning is a leading cause of death for people with autism. Elopement and wandering make drownings easier to happen. Drownings occur quickly and silently and almost always happen when a parent is supervising but not paying attention. The parent support group The Autism Community in Action (TACA) offers the following water safety tips:

CDC Drowning Report

TACA’s Water Safety Page

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