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Water Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates

The following statistics are the latest available from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the National Safety Council.

Injury and death rates:

Picture of two young girls, smiling
  • Approximately 830 children ages 14 and under drown every year. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 4 years and ages 10 to 14 years. For those less than 1 year old, drowning is the third leading cause of death.
  • An average of about 3,600 injuries a year occur to children due to a near-drowning incident. 
  • More than half of drownings among infants occur in bathtubs.

Where and when:

  • Most infants under the age of 1 drown in bathtubs. Other drownings in this age group tend to occur in toilets and buckets.
  • Most childhood drownings in pools occur in the child's home pool. About one-third of these drownings occur in pools at the homes of friends, neighbors, or relatives.
  • Most drownings and near-drownings occur during late spring and summer (May through August).
  • More fatal drownings occur in the South and West.
  • More fatal drownings occur in rural areas than suburban or urban areas.

Who:

  • The majority of children who drown in swimming pools are between the ages of 1 to 4.
  • Children ages 4 and under are more likely to drown than other age groups and account for most home drownings.
  • Boys are two times more likely to drown than girls.
  • African-American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than white children.
  • Nonswimming pool drownings are more common among low-income children.

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