Private Residential Pools and Spas
Drowning Facts and Prevention Tips for Homeowners
Drowning and Water-Related Safety (SafeKids Worldwide)
• Each year, more than 830 children ages 14 and under die as a result of unintentional drowning.
• On average, an annual 3,600 injuries occur to children due to a near-drowning incident.
• Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4 years and children 10 to 14 years. For infants less than 1 year, drowning is the third leading cause of death.
• In 2006, near-drowning incidents in the pool were responsible for 3,703 injuries to children less than 5 years of age.
Where, When and How:
• Home swimming pools are the most common site for a drowning to occur for a child between the ages 1 to 4 years.
• According to a national study of drowning-related incidents involving children, a parent or caregiver claimed to be supervising the child in nearly 9 out of 10 child drowning-related deaths.
• In the summer, between May and August, drowning deaths among children increase 89 percent over the rest of the year.
• Approximately 75 percent of pool submersion deaths and 60 percent of pool submersion injuries occur at a home.
• 16 percent of drowning deaths in children under 5 years of age are at a family or friend's pool while 17 percent of deaths occur at a public, community or neighbor pool.
Pool Submersion Locations for Deaths to Children ages 0-5 (2002-2004 )
• The majority of infant (less than 1 year old) drowning deaths happen in bathtubs, buckets or toilets.
• Recreational boating accidents caused 11 drowning deaths in 2004; more than half of the children were not wearing personal flotation devices or life jackets.
• Children ages 4 and under have the highest drowning death rate (two times greater than other age groups) and account for 80 percent of home drownings.
• Male children have a drowning rate twice that of female children.
• Black children ages 5 to 14 have a drowning rate three times that of their white counterparts.
• Low-income children are at greater risk from non-swimming pool drownings.
• Four-sided isolation fencing around home pools could prevent 50 percent to 90 percent of childhood drownings and near-drownings. When used properly, door alarms, pool alarms and automatic pool covers, add an extra layer of protection.
• From 1999 to 2003, it is estimated that 85 percent of boating-related drownings could have been prevented if the victim had been wearing a personal flotation device. In 2003, 62 percent of children ages 14 and under who drowned in reported recreational boating accidents were not wearing PFDs or life jackets.
• Educational efforts focused on PFDs and safe boating practices are effective in increasing PFD usage.
• In 2000, total drowning injuries cost the nation over $16 billion.
Laws and Regulations:
• The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has developed voluntary guidelines, including education and labeling, to address the hazard of infants drowning in five-gallon buckets.
• Ten states (AZ, CA, FL, IN, GA, IL, ME, MA, NJ & OR) and many communities have safety laws requiring some type of fencing around residential swimming pools.
• Forty-six states and the District of Columbia require children to wear PFDs (i.e. life jackets) while on board a recreational boat.
• Recreational boats must carry one properly-sized, U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD (accessible and in good condition) for each person on board.
Safe Kids Worldwide (SKW). Drowning and Water-Related Injuries, Washington (DC): SKW, 2007.
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