I was shocked to read that drowning is the leading cause of death for boys 5-14 worldwide, and that more than 500,000 people drown each year. This sad information is found in a New England Journal of Medicine article, which mostly focuses on how to resuscitate and treat people after they're pulled from the water.
Another scary fact I learned from the article: the whole process, "from submersion or immersion to cardiac arrest, usually occurs in seconds to a few minutes."
Since summer is upon us, and you'll probably be spending time by a pool or other body of water with family members young and old, it's a good time to review water safety basics. First, check out this HGS post from last year on What Drowning (Really) Looks Like. Though you might assume that a drowning person splashes around an makes a lot of noise, the process is actually horribly silent—which is why it's essential to keep a close eye on any swimmers, young or old, who might be at risk.
And read the CDC's list of tips on keeping yourself and others safe in the water. Please do it—it will only take a few seconds, and it's knowledge that could save a life this summer.
More on water safety: