Drowning Statistics

This drowning statistics (US) report is provided by InfantSwimmingResource

Drowning is the leading cause of death for infants and young children in 18 states and, nationally, ranks 2nd only to automobile accidents, claiming lives of approximately 4,000 children each year and leaving another 12,000 with some form of permanent brain damage.

Drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 15. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Aprox. 360 children die each year from drowning, and because; 1.Drowning is not a physician reportable phenomenon and 2. If the child does not die within the first 24 hours of the submersion incident, it does not get listed as a death by drowning. They artificially deflate numbers giving parents a false sense of security. Insurance companies report 1,000 deaths and the medical literature up to 4,000 children die each year from drowning.

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. (Orange County California Fire Authority).

Children under five and adolescents between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability. (National Safety Council and Foundation for Aquatic Injury Prevention)

Of all preschoolers who drown, 70 percent are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and 75 percent are missing from sight for five minutes or less. (Orange County, CA, Fire Authority)

The majority of children who survive (92 percent) are discovered within two minutes following submersion, and most children have slowly declined (Branche 1999), fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years (CDC 2005).

Minorities: Between 2000 and 2004, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans overall was 1.3 times that of whites. However, in certain age groups it was even higher. For example, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for 5-14 year old African Americans was 3.2 times higher than that for whites.

Between 2000 and 2004, the fatal unintentional drowning rate overall for American Indians and Alaskan Natives Natives was 1.8 times that of whites. In American Indian and Alaskan Native children 5-14 years old, it was 2.6 times higher than that of whites.

Children aged 1-4 are most likely to drown in hot tubs, spas and swimming pools.

Children aged 5-14 most often drown in swimming pools and open water such as rivers, lakes, dams and canals.

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. Children who die (86 percent) are found after 10 minutes. Nearly all who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) die or are left with severe brain injury. (CDC)

In 2000, there were 3,482 unintentional drownings in the United States, an average of nine people per day. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

It is estimated that for each drowning death, there are 1 to 4 nonfatal submersions serious enough to result in hospitalization. Children who still require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the time they arrive at the emergency department have a poor prognosis, with at least half of survivors suffering significant neuralgic impairment. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

19 percent of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with certified lifeguards present.

Children: In 2004, of all children 1-4 years old who died, 26% died from drowning (CDC 2006). Although drowning rates have slowly declined (Branche 1999), fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years (CDC 2005).

In 2007 in the UK...

The following drowning statistics is provided by Child Accident Prevention Trust publishes a range of resources for parents, carers and older children, containing comprehensive safety advice. A complete list of these resources – leaflets, booklets, posters, guides, etc – can be found at www.capt.org.uk together with details of how to obtain them.

  • 27 children under fifteen years old were drowned (England and Wales: 21, Scotland: 6, Northern Ireland: 0)
  • 2 of these children were under one year, 12 between one and four years, 3 were between five and nine, and 10 were ten to fourteen years old.
  • The places where these accidents happen reflect children’s developmental stages and where they spend their time
  • In the younger age group the most common place where children are drowned is in the home or garden, including the bath.
  • Older children are more likely to drown while playing outside the home.

As well as these fatalities many near drownings occur each year. In 2007/8 in England and Wales, about 170 children under 15 years were taken to hospital after nearly drowning. Not surprisingly most unintentional drownings happen in the summer months.

Near drowning can have long-term consequences, resulting in permanent disability and serious health problems. The longer a child is immersed in water with loss of consciousness and breathing the more likely is it that such long-term consequences will arise.

What can be done to reduce the number of drownings?

It is important to be aware that a baby can drown in as little as 5 cm (2 in) of water. This means that anywhere that water can collect can become a hazard. The following actions can help reduce the risk:

  • Never leave a baby or child under 6 years old in the bath without an adult to supervise them
  • If you use a bath seat remember that it’s not a safety device and you will still need to stay with your baby all the time
  • Fit a strong cover, such as a heavy metal grid, over the garden pond or fill it in. Ponds can make excellent sandpits for young children
  • Have fencing around pools with self-locking gates that children cannot open or climb
  • Empty paddling pools after us and either cover or turn them over
  • Check regularly in the garden for anything that could collect water – put buckets, wheelbarrows or any other containers away or turn them upside down
  • Be sure that toddlers cannot get into neighbours gardens – they may have a pond, pool or other hazard
  • Always supervise children closely when playing in or near water such as paddling pools, at the beach, in parks and gardens
  • When on holiday with children check out the environment for any water hazards, such as unfenced ponds or pools, rivers or canals

As children develop it is important that they learn about water safety.

  • Encourage safe water play with young children
  • Make sure children learn to swim – all schools should be teaching swimming to children between five and fifteen years old
  • Encourage children to swim in safe places such as public pools where there are trained lifeguards
  • Teach children the meaning or warning flags or signs at beaches and other bodies of water
  • Explain to children why they should never swim in areas such as canals, weirs or quarries
  • Learn basic first aid techniques and encourage older children to do the same

This drowning statistics page will be updated soon...