Physical Problems Leading to Injuries

Frequently individuals who are on vacation are exposed to unusual amounts of sun and heat which lower their resistance to a variety of diseases and increases their potential for injury and sunburn. Prescription drugs and alcohol may be a contributing factor.

Spinal injuries and concussions are frequently caused by diving into water of unknown depth or with unknown obstructions. Diving in shallow water unless the individual is trained can also cause these types of injuries when coming in contact with the bottom of the pool or other recreational water facility. Poor underwater visibility may contribute to these problems.

Other injuries include impact from slipping or tripping and falling; cuts, lesions, and punctures; and retina tears or dislocations.

From 2005 to 2009 in the United States, there was an average of 3533 fatal unintentional drown- ings not associated with boating accidents. In addition, 347 people died each year from drowning related to boats. Some 80% of the drowning victims were male with the 1- to 4-year-old age group being most frequently involved. The fatal drowning rate for African-Americans aged between 5 and 14 is about three times as high as for white children in the same age group. Use of alcohol among adolescents and adults was involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreational sports. (See endnote 49.)

In 2009, 3358 people were injured and 766 people died in boating incidents, 90% of whom were not wearing life jackets. (See endnote 51.) In coastal and freshwater areas, drowning associated with watercraft or swimming is a major cause of death. Immersion in cold water can be a shock to the system and contribute to the potential for drowning. Diving accidents result in spinal cord injuries, brain and head injuries, fractures, cuts, punctures, etc.

Drowning and near drowning, which may affect the child forever, in swimming pools and other constructed facilities occurs especially among the young. Special problems occur because pools may not be protected by properly locked fences, there are inadequate measures to prevent trapping of hair and body parts in drains or grills, or improper diving. Slippery decks, chairs, tables and toys out of place, poor maintenance of surfaces and lighting, and high temperatures in hot tubs contribute to injuries.

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