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The unfortunate stats about child drowning

Drowning is a tragic and preventable cause of death, particularly for young children. Between 2019 and 2021, approximately 2,500 people lost their lives due to drowning in swimming pools, with nearly one-third of these victims being children. Warm-weather states in the South and Southwest, such as Florida, California, and Texas, have witnessed the highest number of pool drownings. Smaller states like Arizona, Nevada, and Louisiana experience higher drowning rates. Florida stands out as the most perilous state, reporting 458 total drowning deaths and a rate of 0.7 per 100,000 people.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data reveals the following concerning children under 15 years old:

  • An average of 371 pool- or spa-related fatal drownings occurred annually between 2018 and 2020.

  • In 2020, there were 340 fatal drownings, representing a 7% decrease from the previous year’s 367 fatal child drownings.

  • Notably, children under 5 years old accounted for 76% of nonfatal drowning injuries treated in hospital emergency departments during the period from 2020 to 2022.

Between 2020 and 2022, an estimated 6,300 nonfatal drowning injuries related to pools or spas were treated in hospital emergency departments each year. Remarkably, 76% of these incidents involved children under 5 years old. Tragically, the number of fatal child drownings in pools or spas increased by 10% in 2020, with 279 reported fatalities compared to 254 in 2019. Among these fatal incidents, 75% affected children younger than 5 years old.

When location information was available, it was found that 80% of fatal child drownings occurred in residential settings, including the victim’s home, a family member’s home, a friend’s home, or a neighbor’s home. An alarming 91% of these drownings involved children under 5 years old.

To enhance water safety for children, parents and caregivers should follow these essential steps:

  1. Supervision: Never leave a child unattended near water. Designate an adult Water Watcher who remains focused and avoids distractions (such as reading or using a phone).

  2. Barriers and Alarms: If you have a pool or spa, install protective barriers to prevent unsupervised access. Consider using door alarms, pool covers, and self-closing, self-latching devices on gates and doors.

  3. CPR Training: Learn how to perform CPR on both children and adults. Many communities offer online CPR training.

  4. Swimming Skills: Learn to swim and teach your child how to swim.

  5. Avoid Entrapments: Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings.

  6. Drain Covers: Ensure that pool and spa drain covers comply with federal safety standards. If unsure, consult your pool service provider.


You can read the full CPSC drowning and entrapment reports by visiting PoolSafely.gov


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