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SAFETY/INJURY PREVENT :: Water Safety

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 838 children ages 14 and under drowned in 2002; more than 60 percent of these children were under age four.
  • Approximately 15 percent of children admitted to hospitals for near-drowning die, while another 20 percent will suffer severe and permanent brain damage.
  • More than half of drownings among infants occur in bathtubs.
  • Among children ages four and under, there are about 300 residential swimming pool drownings each year.
  • In 2003, about 200 children ages 14 and under experienced personal watercraft injuries.

Where and when:

  • Most infants under the age of one drown in bathtubs. Other drownings in this age group tend to occur in toilets and buckets. Drownings in bathtubs account for 10 percent of all childhood drownings, most often when the child is unsupervised.
  • Since 1984, more than 327 children have drowned in buckets containing water or other liquids. The majority (89 percent) of the children were between the ages of seven and 15 months.
  • More than half of childhood drownings in pools occur in the child's home pool, with one-third of these drownings occurring at the homes of friends, neighbors, or relatives.
  • Most drownings and near-drownings occur on the weekend (40 percent) 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 (more than 85 percent) of children who drown in swimming pools are between the ages of one to four.
  • Each year, 300 children ages four and under drown in swimming pools, while another 2,600 children in this age group are treated for near-drowning in hospital emergency rooms.
  • Children ages four and under are two to three times as likely to drown than other age groups and account for 80 percent of home drownings.
  • Boys are two to four times more likely to drown than girls.
  • Girls are twice as likely to drown in bathtubs than boys.
  • African-American children ages five to nine are four-and-a-half times more likely to drown in swimming pools than Caucasian children.
  • Non-swimming pool drownings are more common among low-income children.

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
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