Background: Drowning is a leading cause of preventable mortality and morbidity in children. Its high fatality rate and frequent severe sequelae (e.g. brain damage and permanent loss of functioning) place a premium on preventive efforts. Methods: A retrospective analysis of patients ≤21 years of age admitted between 2010 and 2017 to a pediatric trauma center was conducted to identify factors associated with drowning admissions, fatal drowning, and severe outcome (ventilator use, ICU admission, or death). Outcomes were modeled and estimated by use of logistic regression and Poisson regression. Results: Drowning accounted for 153/4931 (3.1%) trauma admissions between 2010 and 2017. The risk of death (13.1% vs. 1.5%, p < .01), and severe outcome (24.8% vs. 7.8%, p 5 min or unknown length [AOR = 6.66 95% CI (2.74–16.15)]. Immediate intervention after the discovery was associated with ~70% lower odds of a severe outcome. Conclusions: Drowning admissions were both more severe and more often fatal compared to other pediatric injury causes of admission. Enhanced and targeted educational messages for parents of young children, focused on prevention behaviors on high-risk days and immediate bystander intervention, may reduce the occurrence and severity of these tragic accidents. Table of contents summary: A retrospective multi-year cohort study to identify modifiable factors associated with drowning admissions, severe complications, and death from a large trauma registry database. What’s known on this subject: Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury that results in severe morbidity and a high rate of mortality. Children are disproportionately affected by drowning and have a higher risk of long term sequelae and death. What this study adds: This study identified high-risk populations and periods for drowning, the importance of supervision, and the effectiveness of immediate intervention in reducing unfavorable outcomes after drowning. It also highlights a need for heightened local intervention for drowning prevention.