Swimming Pool Drowning

Thousands of drowning accidents happen in the U.S. each year. Be responsible and keep your pool safe for your family and guests to enjoy a safe environment of fun in the sun.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) about ten people die every day from unintentional drowning and drowning ranks fifth as the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S.

The following statistics as well as additional information can be found on the CDC website:

  • Approximately one in five people who die from drowning are children ages 14 and younger. Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another five received emergency treatment for non-fatal submersion injuries
  • More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency rooms require further care
  • Nearly 80% of drowning victims are male
  • Children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates, most occurring in home swimming pools
  • Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects).
  • Between 2005 and 2009, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans was significantly higher than that of whites across all ages. The disparity is widest among children 5-14 years old. The fatal drowning rate of African American children ages 5 to 14 is almost three times that of white children in the same age range.

What factors influence drowning risk?

  • Lack of fences/barriers to pool
  • Lack of swimming ability
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Lack of Supervision
  • Failure to wear life jackets
  • Location- most drowning occur in natural settings (lakes, rivers, oceans)
  • Seizure disorders

Here are a few safety steps recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Staying Safe in Residential Pools

  • Always keep an eye on your children and guests when they are in your pool
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors
  • Have a portable or cellular phone close by when your pool is in use
  • If you lose sight of a child or guest look in the pool first

Staying Safe in Community Pools

  • The pool must have a fenced enclosure
  • A lifeguard must be present at all times
  • Place safety rules where they are visible for adults and children to review
  • Ensure drain covers are new and in compliance with government regulations
  • Has the pool been inspected to ensure it is compliant with federal and local laws and regulations?

How can I prevent swimming pool accidents and drownings?

  • A lifeguard must be present at all times
  • Watch your children at all times when they are in and around water

What can I do to ensure that my pool or spa is safe for use?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that residential pool and spa owners implement certain safety measures to prevent pool accidents and drownings.  They recommend that as the summer swim season begins that you ask yourself this "checklist" of questions to determine how safe and ready your pool or spa is for the summer:

  • Has everyone learned to swim comfortably?
  • Has someone in your family been trained in CPR?
  • Do you have a fence around your pool/spa?
  • Does your gate latch or close itself?
  • Do you have an alarm in your pool or spa area?
  • Are your pool/spa covers in working order and in good condition?
  • Does your pool have anti-entrapment drain covers?
  • Is your pool or spa's chemical balance correct?

How Can I Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents and Drownings?

  • Ensure all family members and pool guests are supervised and know how to swim.
  • Install a Fence
  • Keep your pool/spa clean with the correct chemical/chlorine balance
  • Be sure your drains are covered with an Anti-Entrapment drain cover.