8 Facts about Drowning Plus Prevention Tips

Last updated: October 20, 2023, at 10:02 a.m. PT

Originally published: May 3, 2021, at 11:07 a.m. PT


Drowning is preventable! Stay in the know and practice water safety. You could save a life, including yours.

Facts about Drowning

  1. In the U.S., drowning takes an average of 3,500-4,000 lives per year.
  2. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1-4.
  3. Among those ages 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death.
  4. 23 percent of child drownings happen during a family gathering near a pool.
  5. Drowning is fast and silent. It can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds.
  6. The fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans is significantly higher than that of whites across all ages.
  7. Nearly 80 percent of people who die from drownings are male.
  8. No one is drown-proof and drowning doesn't discriminate!

Prevention Tips

  • Take Swimming Lessons: Learning to swim can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent.
  • Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): The more quickly CPR is started, the better the chance of improved outcomes.
    • Closely Supervise: Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in or around a pool, bath, and other bodies of water.
    • Use the Buddy System: Never swim alone; bring along a buddy or only swim if a lifeguard is present.
    • Wear a Life Jacket: Wearing a life jacket could potentially prevent half of all boating deaths.
    • Don't use Pool Toys instead of a Safety Device: “Water Wings”, “Pool Noodles”, and inner-tubes are NOT a substitute for a life jacket.
    • Install a Barrier: Having a barrier, such as pool fencing, prevents children from gaining access to pools without supervision.
    • Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment.

    Sources: National Drowning Prevention AllianceCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, American Red Cross


    Category: Water Safety