Water safety expert: 'Drowning doesn't just happen'

By Jacque Wilson, CNN

(CNN) -- As adults we're told time and again to keep a close eye on young children around water. Most kids who drown are under the age of 4 -- toddlers who accidentally fall into water too deep.

They can drown in minutes in less than 2 inches of water.

But the recent death of a 13-year-old at a pool in Florida has experts concerned about water safety for pre-teens and adolescents.

Anthony Johnson had been playing in a pool at Disney's Pop Century Resort on Sunday. Relatives told CNN affiliate WFTV that Anthony was jumping in and out with friends when they noticed him missing, and pulled him out of the water within minutes.

The boy died Tuesday morning, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Police are still investigating his death.

Ten people die every day from unintentional drowning in the United States, making it the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 20% are under the age of 14. Nearly 80% are male.

"The first thing to remember is that drowning doesn't just happen," says Alison Osinski, water safety expert and president of Aquatic Consulting Services. "Something always precipitates drowning."

Only about 35% of Americans know how to swim, and only 2% to 7% swim well, Osinski says. Teens are particularly susceptible to peer pressure and often go past their limits. Exhaustion or disorientation under water could cause a weak swimmer to panic.

Layers of Protection Around Aquatic Environments to Prevent Child Drowning

from the National Drowning Prevention Alliance

Written by NDPA's Education Committee

Approved by NDPA Board of Directors: January 21, 2009

Revised March 25, 2011


This position paper addresses the National Drowning Prevention Alliance's definition of "layers of protection" and how this concept can be utilized in aquatic environments to aid in the prevention of childhood drowning. The NDPA recognizes that multiple strategies are necessary to prevent drowning. The term "layers of protection" is one way to classify the majority of strategies directly affecting aquatic environments. Other important prevention strategies, such as community education, legislation, local enforcement, and public awareness, are not addressed in this position paper. This position paper is intended to be a general overview for use by safety professionals, educators, community leaders, parents, caregivers, and members of the media. Additional papers discussing more details on individual "layers" addressed in this paper will be forthcoming

How Germs Get In The Swimming Pool, Scientific American via Huffington Post

By Larry Greenemeier

(Click here for the original article)

As the summer winds down and Labor Day weekend approaches in the U.S., beaches and public pools will be filling up with swimmers looking to take one last dip outdoors before the season ends. Most people will hit the water without worrying about the microscopic organisms they'll be swimming with. Maybe that's for the best, considering what those organisms are and how they're introduced to swimming holes.

The protozoan organism Cryptosporidium, one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease, has become a major problem in swimming pools, says Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona who's spent decades studying how pathogens are transmitted. Crypto is a microscopic parasite with a tough outer shell that allows it to survive for days even in properly chlorinated pools.