Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pro-Gun Lie Number 129: Swimming Pools are More Dangerous for Kids than Guns

reposted by popular demand

Pro-Gun Lie Number 129: Swimming Pools are More Dangerous for Kids than Guns


Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.1

Huffington Post 

In 2011, guns were used to murder 8,583 people living in the U.S., according to the most recent FBI data available. Among those murdered by guns, there were 565 young people under the age of 18, and 119 children ages 12 or younger -- the latter number nearly equivalent to six Newtown mass shootings. And these figures include only homicides. 

Free Public (quoting CDC)

CDC data show number of accidental firearm deaths for children under age 15 has gone back up to 62, a number that it was at in 2008. The 48 accidental deaths in 2009 was unusually low. A similar pattern also held for total accidental gun deaths for all ages: 2008, 592; 2009, 554; and 2010, 606. 

National Library of Medicine

An estimated 115,131 (95% confidence interval, 76,769-153,493) children and adolescents were treated for a nonfatal gunshot wound during the study period. The estimated annual rates of injury (per 100,000) were 2.0 (children 0-4 years old), 2.2 (children 5-9 years old), 15.4 (children 10-14 years old), and 106.5 (adolescents 15-19 years old). The ratios of nonfatal to fatal firearm-related injuries were 4.0 (children 0-4 years old), 4.4 (children 5-9 years old), 5.0 (children 10-14 years old), and 4.4 (adolescents 15-19 years old). An additional estimated 103,814 children (95% confidence interval, 69,223-138,405) were shot with a nonpowder firearm (BB or pellet gun). Boys 5 to 9 and 10 to 14 years old had the highest rates of injury related to nonpowder firearms, an estimated 36.2 and 99.8 per 100,000, respectively. Fifty-six percent of those 15 to 19 years old were assault victims. An estimated 48% of children and adolescents with powder firearm-related gunshot wounds and an estimated 4% with nonpowder firearm injuries were admitted to the hospital.

The lie is a tricky one because near-drowning injuries are rare and generally don't leave permanent damage.  Non-fatal gun injuries do. So, when the gun-rights fanatic says swimming pools kill more kids than guns, it's a carefully worded trick and not a very fair comparison.  Just ask that kid who's in a wheelchair for the rest of his life due to a spinal gun-shot injury.

Let's take the CDC number. They say for kids under 14, two drown every day.  That's about 700.

The kids in approximately the same age bracket who die from murder (119 in 2011 for 12 and under, so let's say about 150) and so-called accidents (48 in 2009) are about 200.   The National Library of Medicine, quoted above, says the ratio of fatal to non-fatal gun shot incidents is 1:4, which sounds about right.

That means dead kids (200) plus injured kids (200 * 4 = 800) total 1,000

That's swimming pools 700, guns 1,000.

So, the next time you hear one of the gun apologists claiming that swimming pools are more dangerous than guns, you can remind him that unless he's very careful how he words that ridiculous proposition, it's just not true.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. Mike, you're still comparing death and injury with guns to only death by drowning. Of course you just wrote off the permanent damage part of drowning and "lets not count that. There can't be that many." Did you bother to check when you did your research? According to this site below, there are 25,000 kids who suffer long term damage from near drowning each. That sounds like a lot to me. It may be hard to come up with a good number, but it's a lot more than 300, and certainly not zero.

    About 75% of near-drowning victims who receive medical treatment survive. Of these, approximately 6% will be left with long-term neurological problems.

    Statistical reporting on near-drowning is unreliable, but experts have estimated that there may be 600 near-drowning incidents for every reported drowning death.

    1. Well, math wiz that you are, I guess you didn't follow my numbers. I counted kids who died from guns, both accidents and murders and compared that to the kids that die in pools.

      As far as the ones injured, your numbers seem pretty loose and convenient, to quote from your own quote, "unreliable."

    2. No, you didn't count just dead kids. I guess you can't follow your own numbers:

      MikeB: "That means dead kids (200) plus injured kids (200 * 4 = 800) total 1,000"

      And I'd call 200 dead and 800 injured better than 700 dead, wouldn't you? But if you're going to count injured, then you have to do it on both sides. As I pointed out, it's not necessarily reliable, but that site has 25,000 injured kids. I'm willing to compare that to your research, but it doesn't sound like you did any. The number is not zero, Mike, and definitely a whole lot more than 300 which would far exceed your count of 1000 for guns.

  2. Look at this quote from the CDC link you provided:

    More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries).1,2 These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).

    Based on that, how can you possibly say something like this?:

    MikeB: "The lie is a tricky one because near-drowning injuries are rare and generally don't leave permanent damage."

  3. Here's more info from the CDC:

    I like this as a better estimate for long term injury from near-drowning. As I said, I thought the first number seemed high. This is at least based on a estimate of ER visits (though there can be damage without an ER visit) as opposed to estimating total near drowning incidents. According to the CDC, there are an estimated 5800 drowning survivors treated at the hospital per year. Half of them have long term damage. Using the same ratio for kids and drowning deaths, that's over 500 kids per year suffering long term or permanent damage from a near-drowning.

  4. Making comparisons dilutes the facts of gun deaths and injuries. They are not comparable and give gun loons some perceived false argument to claim gun deaths and injuries are no different than other deaths and injuries. BS. Make them face the facts and their irrational position that gun deaths must be accepted as a normal outcome of societies natural behavior. BS. So what's your point TS? Because death and injuries happen because of other causes, that means death and injury from guns is somehow more acceptable, or any efforts to stop those gun deaths and injuries should not be attempted? You gun loons sure accept preventable death and injury just to justify unfettered access to your guns, which are the cause of unnecessary death and injury. We talk about guns here, not swimming pools.

    1. Absolutely right. There should be legal requirements about securing swimming pools just like there should be legal requirements about securing guns. Nobody is fighting against the first one but the gun nuts are fighting against the second.

    2. Mike, most places do have a requirement that pools be fenced with locked gates. Also, most schools offer training on how to swim, now, when are we going to have schools offer gun training?

    3. I'm willing to bet that more kids are run over by their parents SUVs backing out of the driveway than are killed by gun accidents.

      There are already laws holding gun owners responsible for accidents. Storage laws are not only an invasion of privacy and defacto gun registry, but they address a problem that, statistically, doesn't really seem to be much of a problem. 700 kids are killed and 100,000 go to the hospital every year by self-poisoning from readily available household chemicals. A dozen or two die every year to bee stings!

      Brave Anonymous says that gun deaths should be less acceptable than other accidental deaths. Why? The leading cause of death for children is traffic accidents, but we accept those without question, as a price of the simple convenience of traveling where we like. Imagine how many lives would be saved if our drivers licensing requirements were more stringent.

    4. “We talk about guns here, not swimming pools”

      No, we were talking about swimming pools too. Look at the title of the post. You guys are funny. Every time you get backed into a corner you shift to saying “well, it’s a stupid comparison- we’re talking about guns” even when you brought up the comparison. Just like a couple days ago when you brought up driver’s licenses and I made some counter arguments, and in comes Mike with, “that’s a stupid comparison.” My point is that Mike made a post that was wrong, and I backed up my rebuttal.

      MikeB: “There should be legal requirements about securing swimming pools just like there should be legal requirements about securing guns. Nobody is fighting against the first one but the gun nuts are fighting against the second.”

      Well then why don’t we have a legal requirement to secure swimming pools? I don’t see anyone fighting for the first one either. Where’s Bloomberg’s money? Where are the people getting on TV? There isn’t a “corporate swimming pool lobby” to fight against, which you say is the only reason we don’t have gun control. So why don’t we have swimming pool control? You guys want to make it seem like guns is the only topic where we don’t have rampant nanny state takeover (because of the NRA), but it’s not. There are many areas where society still allows freedom of choice, not enough in my opinion, but liberty isn’t totally dead.

    5. He wrote a post about it because you gun loon idiots keep bringing it up. It's a lie (as the post author makes clear) and a ridiculous comparison, but keep using it and make yourself look silly, and the gun loon you are.

    6. TS, I admitted you were right about my including gun injuries and comparing that to pool deaths. But for your claim that the post is wrong we need to have a certain number of near drownings that cause injury. Your exaggerated numbers and percentages that "should amount to more than 300" are not entirely convincing.

      Besides, as Texas TopCat pointed out most places do require swimming pool safety measures. With similar requirements for guns we could save some kiddie lives. Why wouldn't you want that?

      Oh, I know, as Sian said, "Storage laws are not only an invasion of privacy and defacto gun registry." Of course that just a bullshit excuse for you guys to resist.

      Sian went on to say that since only 700 kids die each year, what the heck. More die from peanut allergies and bee stings.

      What he's conveniently overlooking is that saving some kid lives is only part of the benefit of safe storage. A half-a-million guns are stolen each year, largely from irresponsible gun owners who think it's OK to keep guns lying around the house. Some of those guns end up killing people too and most of that gun flow could be stopped cold.

    7. MikeB: “But for your claim that the post is wrong we need to have a certain number of near drownings that cause injury. Your exaggerated numbers and percentages that "should amount to more than 300" are not entirely convincing.”

      I showed you the number from the CDC at 500 long term/permanent injuries- the same source that you used for your gun numbers and the drowning deaths. Is the CDC not good enough for you now? Besides, even not counting the injuries for near-drowning, 700 deaths is worse than 200 deaths plus 800 injuries. There are still 500 extra dead kids on the drowning side! But when we count the injuries, we’re up to 1200 total.

      Mike: “Besides, as Texas TopCat pointed out most places do require swimming pool safety measures.”

      I just did some digging around, and yes, there are some states that have requirements. Not most though. Probably on par with the number of states that have some form of child access gun law. New York, California, and ironically Florida and Arizona (you’re favorite whipping boy states) do. There is no federal law for pool safety (which is what you are calling for on guns). However, there is another big difference. Those state laws are for building codes tied to the permitting process for new construction and renovation where it has to be built with at least one of a number of different safety features. Pool owners are not required to have the fence up at all times, or the cover on at all times when not in use, etc., and there certainly aren’t criminal penalties tied to it- like what you want for guns. No one is getting arrested for not having a fence around a pool. That’s a big difference, and it those kind of proposals from you that I object to. I think having a fence around a pool is a great idea if you have small kids, as I think keeping them away from firearms when they are too young is also pertinent. But that doesn’t mean I think there should be criminal penalties with a blanket restriction that can’t possibly account for different circumstances. The point at which you don’t need a fence around your pool depends on the swimming skills of the kids, and whether or not you have kids at all. Same goes for guns.

      Take a look at California’s child access laws for guns. You have to buy a trigger lock with your gun purchase. There is no requirement that you have to use it. You are waived from buying the lock if you have a suitable locking storage box at home. There is no requirement that you actually lock it up. You can be held criminally liable if a child gets access to the gun that wasn’t locked and shoots someone, or brings it to school, etc. If you leave guns lying around and the child doesn’t touch them, there is no crime. It’s not much different than swimming pool laws which mandate construction practices, but don’t regulate use. Are these acceptable to you?

    8. No, none of that is acceptable to me. Guns need to be locked up at home when not in use. I don't really care about swimming pools.

    9. Of course you don't. That's why pro-gun people bring up swimming pools when you say "for the children".

    10. No, you bring up swimming pools for the same reason you bring up cars and rape and any number of other things, to deflect the discussion away from the beloved gun and appeal to emotion. Oh, the poor women getting raped all the time, and the poor babies drowning in pools and, oh, the numbers of car fatalities and accidents. The problem is it always backfires on you. In many recent reports guns are killing more people than cars. The guns vs. pools argument is not the runaway victory for your side that you often claim. And anyone with a bit of common sense knows that a gun in the pocketbook is rarely going to prevent a rape. Of course you come up with anecdotal stories to back up your arguments but they're really nothing more than exceptions to the rule.

    11. MikeB: "The guns vs. pools argument is not the runaway victory for your side that you often claim."

      Oh, are you admitting that it's not a "pro-gun lie"? Just a small victory, not a runaway victory, is that it? Keep in mind the number of dead kids is still 3.5x.

  5. Soo...
    don't let your kid go swimming with a firearm????????????????

    (Yes, I know,it stupid)

    Roger V. Tranfaglia

  6. This IS stupid.
    I live in a small, west-coast town where the main 'industry' is the state college.

    How many people within my home town have a permit for a swimming pool? All of them who have a swimming pool.

    How many people in the same are have a permit to own a gun? None.

    How many licensed swimming pool in the entire town? 67
    How many unlicensed guns in the same population? 18, 483.

    Why the dichotomy? Because private swimming pools are a luxury. Private ownership of firearms is a RIGHT.

    Rights aren't about luxuries; they're about "needful things".

    And yes, the number of children who die in swimming pools in this small college town exceeds the total number of deaths by the hand of firearm-owning citizens.

    You don't need a license to own a gun; but you need license to own a swimming pool. There's a reason. It's called the Constitution. Look it up. Go ahead, we'll wait.

    PS: For those of you who question my statistics, I made them up. I have no idea how many swimming pools are in my town; I don't care to look up the statistics.

    And I have no statistics to specify how many firearms are in town. We don't have to register them in Oregon, you see, because firearms ownership is a RIGHT which "Shall not be infringed".

    I made up the statistics because this group of people seem to favor numbers over rights.

    Which does not speak well of you, especially when you blithely banter about infringing upon MY constitutional rights ... which are real, whether you like it or not.

    First . we take away the First Amendment. Which will be easy, because the hairless hoi polloi will gladly give away their rights for an imagined security.

    Then, we take away the Second Amendment. Which will not be easy, because those hairy Gun Nuts are rude, ill-mannered, and intractable. Also armed.

    Ummmm .... Maybe we should just skip to the Third Amendment? Which should be a lot easier, because nobody HERE has actually read the Constitution; or cares about it much. (HINT: Quartering of soldiers of private homes)

    Never mind, we'll protect your homes, too. It's our job. We're called "The Constitution.

    How many soldiers have you quartered today?

    No, don't thank us. It's our job. We are the Constitution. We will protect you even if the Brits don't storm our country and burn the Capitol. Again. We will protect your right to vote (and own a firearm) even if you are a former slave. Or a woman. All are equal under The Law.

    It's our job.

    Don't muck about when we are doing our work. All citizens ... and all Rights .. are equal.

    1. So you create lies to make your point? Another certified gun loon just like SS.

    2. So, Jerry, you think no soldiers have been quartered in private homes lately because of the 3rd Amendment?

      What I think is the 3rd Amendment has been relegated to meaningless because it simply doesn't apply any more. In the same way the 2nd Amendment will eventually be seen, unless it's actually repealed first. The fact is it was ALL about creating a militia of citizens soldiers in case of a tyrannical government or invading army, a concept that is obsolete and meaningless today.

    3. So Mike, the third amendment challenge going thru the courts right now isn't real? Doesn't sound like that the 3rd amendment has been relegated meaningless after all.

    4. I don't doubt there might be a 3rd Amendment case going on, we know there have been many 2nd Amendment cases in recent years. Nevertheless, these two amendments are obsolete and meaningless in today's society.

    5. If they were obsolete and meaningless these cases would not in the courts today, which makes your comment a contradiction. These two amendments are just as meaningful and important today as the day they were written, perhaps even more so because they address our civil rights. Civil rights, Mike. Civil rights may not mean much to you, but they do mean a lot to the majority of the people whether you like them or not.

    6. I have another question for you, what is the difference in todays society of 2014 than that of 1814 or even 1914. What is the difference?

      You keep referring to "todays society". What is it about today than before. I would like to hear this.

    7. In these discussions when I mention "today's society," I usually mean as opposed to that of 1790. What is understood by "arms" is the biggest difference. What is meant by "militia" is another.

    8. Ok, explain what the difference is to you.

    9. Do some reading before you ask me to repeat what's been said over and over again on this blog. I'm going to name that tactic "argumentum pro tedium."

    10. Call it what you want, I call it you avoiding the subject and a honest discussion. You just can't chance having one because of the possibilities of being pinned down.

  7. The problem with you is that you change your explanation of the terms "society" and "civil" to suit whatever argument your making. So reading past posts doesn't do any good what so ever. So you will really never have an honest discussion with anyone.