News stories out of Oklahoma City report that in Grady County, a two-year-old child in foster care drowned in an above-ground pool on June 29th in Chickasha. The Department of Human Services is cooperating with investigation conducted by law enforcement agents. The details of the investigation have not been released to the press. Officials have not determined who is responsible for the accident. The other foster children in the home have been removed and are currently in new foster placement locations.
In toddlers, injuries have emerged as the most common cause of death in toddlers. Death that is injury-related is approximately 37% of all causes of death in this age group. Toddlers develop their gross motor skills to include walking, running, climbing, throwing and riding. They participate in more outdoor activities and have much curiosity. At the same time, toddlers are developing increased fine motor skills. As a result, toddlers can open doors, gates, drawers, bottles and boxes. They become easily distracted and lack judgment. They do not fear heights, depth of water, heat from flames, volatile materials, electricity and animals. Because of the newly developed ability to wonder and perform fine and gross motor skills, toddlers are at risk for injury and death when left unsupervised.
The major cause of injury is related to environmental factors, such as hazardous structures, drowning and pools of water, burns and overly heated water, cooking and open flames, motor vehicles and inappropriate use of restraints, and inappropriate storage of household poisons.
Toddlers are at the highest risk of drowning compared to other age groups. They do not have the developmental ability to swim, nor can they keep their heads above water, or know how to get out of water. Young children can drown in very shallow water, including pails of liquid, toilets, bathtubs and baby pools. Unlike adults, young children do not call out for help while in distress, they generally drown silently.
Drowning is the second leading cause of deaths related to injuries after motor vehicle accidents. According to the CDC, children between the ages of one and four years of age are more likely to drown in swimming pools and hot tubs. Mortality rates secondary to drowning are three times higher for males. Approximately 78% of drowning victims are male. Near-drowning accidents can result in permanent brain damage. For every child that drowns there are approximately five near-drowning episodes in children. Drowning is the second highest cause of injury-related deaths in children between the ages of one and nine years old.