Water Safety

Drowning Fact Sheet
Drowning accidents are the leading cause of injury/deaths among children under 5. A temporary lapse in supervision is a common factor in most drownings and near-drownings. Child drownings can happen in a matter of seconds - in the time it takes to answer the phone. There is often no splashing to warn of trouble. Children can drown in small quantities of water and are at risk in their own homes from wading pools, bathtubs, buckets, diaper pails, toilets as well as swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs.

Deaths & Injuries
A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under. Each year, approximately 1,150 children ages 14 and under drown, more than half are preschoolers (ages 0-4). An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to near-drownings annually in the United States. Of children surviving near-drownings, 5-20% suffer severe and permanent disability.

Where Drownings Happen
Approximately 50% of preschooler drownings occur in residential swimming pools. Each year, more than 2,000 preschooler near-drownings occur in residential pools. Of preschooler pool drownings, 65% occur in the child's home pool and 33% at the homes of friends, neighbors or relatives.

Each year, 350 drownings (for all ages) happen in bathtubs and approximately 40 children drown in 5-gallon buckets.

In 10 states-Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington-drowning surpasses all other causes of death to children age 14 and under.

How & When Drownings Happen
Of all preschoolers who drown, 70% are in the care of 1 or both parents at the time of the drowning. Of all preschoolers who drown, 75% are missing from sight for 5 minute or less. Two-thirds of all drownings happen between May and August with 40% occurring on Saturdays and Sundays.