When a 5-year-old boy died at Sun Valley Beach waterpark in August, it was the Powder Springs, Ga., park?s second drowning this year.
Such incidents represent a disturbing rise in water-related deaths, according to a Consumer Product Safety Commission report released recently.
CPSC reports an estimated 319 children under age 5 died in pool and spa incidents in 2005, the latest year for which complete records are available. In 2004, that number was 245.
Data shows the total number of drowning deaths have increased from a yearly average of 267 (2002-04) to 283 (2003-05). Children ages 1 and 2 accounted for the majority of the drownings.
When the numbers are available for 2006-2008, it?s likely the alarming trend will continue, according to Scott Wolfson, CPSC?s deputy public affairs director.
?CPSC is extremely concerned about the number of news reports that we?ve received related to drownings and the number of investigations that we?ve already assigned,? he said.
Anecdotal reports from local agencies seem to justify his concern. The Tulsa District of the Army Corps of Engineers, which manages 38 lakes across Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, reported 13 drowning deaths between Memorial Day and mid-July. That makes 16 deaths since the federal fiscal year began, Corps officials said. The last time the number was that high was 2001, when 17 drowning deaths were recorded.
A report from the Kern County, Calif., coroner?s office reveals that drowning deaths nearly doubled from 2006 (11) to 2007 (20).