For many, water is a source of joy and memory – bringing together even the unlikeliest of pairs. However, water is an element that deserves our respect and attention.
Drowning is a tragedy that can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it is fast, silent, and often not what you would expect, so it’s essential to learn the latest available water safety and drowning prevention information.
Data & Statistics on Drowning
The following data and research has been compiled over the past few years from sources such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization), and the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). Learning the latest drowning statistics is crucial to understanding how drowning can affect anyone and its impact on society.
General Drowning Statistics:
- Drowning is the single leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of injury-related death for children up to age 14.
- There is an average of 4,012 unintentional drowning deaths per year.
- Drowning remains among the top four causes of death from age 54 and up.
- The U.S. experiences an average of 11 fatal drownings per day and an average of 22 non-fatal drownings per day.
- More than 40% of drownings treated in the Emergency Department require hospitalization, transfer, or further care (compared with 8% of all unintentional injuries). Outcomes of morbidity include brain damage, other serious outcomes, and long-term disability.
- Drowning costs the U.S. Economy $51.53 billion per year.
- Drowning is fast and silent. It can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds.
- Nearly 80% of drowning deaths are among males due to increased exposure to water, risk-taking behaviors, and alcohol use.
- Based on data from 2020, unintentional drowning deaths between ages 20-24 have increased by 44%, and ages 25-29 have increased by 29%.
Drowning Statistics on Children:
- 88% of child drownings occur with at least 1 adult present.
- We lose 10 school buses worth of children to unintentional drownings per year, with the average school bus seating 80 students, resulting in an average of 854 children per year.
- For every child that dies from drowning, another 7 to 8 receive emergency department care for non-fatal drowning. Almost 70% of drownings of young children occur during non-swim.
- Two out of three drowning incidents that take place in the home occur in a bathtub.
- 23% of child drownings happen during a family gathering near a pool.
Racial & Ethnic Groups Drowning Statistics
- In swimming pools, Black children ages 10-14 years drown at rates 7.6 times higher than White children.
- Black children and youth are more likely to drown in public pools, and white children and youth are more likely to drown in residential pools.
- Drowning death rates for American Indian or Alaska Native people ages 29 and younger are 2 times higher than the rates for White people, with the highest disparities among those ages 25-29 (rates 3.5 times higher).
- Drowning death rates for Black people are 1.5 times higher than the rates for White people. Disparities are highest among Black children ages 5-9 (rates 2.6 times higher) and ages 10-14 (rates 3.6 times higher).
Drowning Statistics on People With Disabilities/Medical Conditions
- People with seizure disorders such as epilepsy are at a higher risk of fatal and non-fatal drowning than the general population. Other conditions, such as autism and heart conditions, are also associated with a higher risk of drowning.
Water Safety & Drowning Prevention Internal Resources
We offer a wide range of resources at the NDPA to assist you in learning about the latest water safety and drowning prevention efforts across various industries, including residential pools and spas, commercial aquatics, pediatrics, and resources for parents and caregivers.
Some of our best internal resources for water safety and drowning prevention include:
- NDPA Resource Center
- Parent and Caregiver Resources
- Learn the 5 Layers of Protection:
- Become a Water Safety Champion With Downloadable Toolkits:
- Nominate The Next Water Safety Champion Of The Month – Share Their Story
- Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Blog Articles
- Water Safety & Drowning Prevention In The News
- The NDPA Water Safety Podcast
- NDPA Video Library and Webinars
- Drowning Quick Facts
- How to Fence Your Pool
- Organizational Partner Directory
Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Industry Updates
With recent research findings, water safety legislation, and awareness campaigns currently circulating in the water safety industry, there are many areas of expertise to be mindful of. Only together can we reduce the incidence of drowning and aquatic injuries.
The following resources are key items to utilize when keeping up to date with the latest water safety and drowning prevention industry:
- Water Safety USA
- Aquatics Coalition
- Step Into Swim
- US National Water Safety Action Plan
- International Swimming Pool & Spa Code
- National Water Safety Conference
- The National Childhood Drowning Prevention Research Summit
- Drowning Prevention Symposium
- National Water Safety Month
- The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson
- Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Events
Drowning is Preventable!
The National Drowning Prevention Alliance is dedicated to preventing the tragedies of unintentional childhood drownings and aquatic injuries through research, education, and advocacy initiatives.
Drowning is a complex problem, but it is preventable.
Prevention starts with awareness, education, and implementation of the latest water safety and drowning prevention efforts, statistics, and resources.
Water safety and drowning prevention is a lifelong endeavor, but it can save a life.
Join the alliance today and help us make a difference in ending drowning and aquatic-related injuries!