The Unfortunate Truth About Drownings

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National Safety Council Drowning Statistics

  • Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children under 5 and the second leading cause among children 5–14

  • The swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under (Orange County California Fire Authority)

  • Drowning is the 4th leading cause of accidental death in the United States claiming 4,000 lives annually. Approximately one-third are children under the age of 14 (American Institute for Preventive Medicine)

  • The USA Swimming Foundation reports nearly 90 children younger than 15 drowned in a pool or spa in the first 5 months of 2018, during the coldest period of the year.

  • According to NSC research, 780 people age 5 to 24 drowned in 2016; of those, 530 were age 15 to 24.

  • A child can drown in the time it takes to answer a phone (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

  • Every year about 19 children drown during the July 4 holiday.

  • 74% of drowning incidents for children younger than 15 occurred in residential locations

  • Emergency departments treat about 6,400 pool and spa injuries in children younger than 15 every year

  • Of all preschoolers who drown, 70 percent are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and 75 percent are missing from sight for five minutes or less.

  • 86 percent of children who die are found after 10 minutes. Nearly all who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) die or are left with severe brain injury. (CDC)

  • An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to near-drownings each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability. (Foundation for Aquatic Injury Prevention) 

  • Healthcare costs for each near drowning event range from $75,000 for emergency room services to $180,000 per year for long term care