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.
Download Water Safety Information:
Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Snohomish County Parks, and Safe Kids Snohomish County Life Jacket Loan Program supplies life jacket loaner cabinets at throughout the county. The cabinets are open and available for both kids and adults from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Life jackets are checked out and must be returned by the end of each day. There are directions on each cabinet explaining how to size and fit your child into a life jacket.
In addition, life jackets can be checked out at Marysville Fire – Lake Goodwin Fire Station, Sultan Fire, Monroe Fire and Index Fire, and Dagmar’s (Marine View Drive, Everett).
Life jackets do not replace the need for supervision.