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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.