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Drowning Statistics Highlight Importance of Pool Safety

With school out for summer, many San Diego families will be spending more time at the pool. Whether swimming in the backyard, at a friend’s house, or at a public pool, it is imperative for parents to take steps to prevent drowning, which remains the leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of four.

To highlight the tragic prevalence of pool drowning, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers the following statistics:

  • Children between the ages of 1 and 3 represent 64 percent of reported non-fatal drowning incidents (2012-2014) and 65 percent of fatal drowning incidents (2010-2012).
  • Every year between 2010 and 2012, approximately 382 children younger than 15 fatally drowned in pools or spas, with 76 percent (290) of the victims being younger than 5.
  • Approximately 5,400 children younger than 15 were treated between 2012 and 2014 in emergency rooms for pool- or spa-related submersion injuries every year, with 77 percent of the victims being younger than 5.
  • Residential pool and spas dominated incidents involving victims younger than 5 years old, with 87 percent of the reported fatalities occurring at residential locations. Approximately 49 percent of the injuries and 75 percent of the fatalities involving children younger than 15 years also occurred at a residence.
  • Of the reported pool fatalities for children younger than age 15, about 55 percent (212 annual average) occurred in in-ground pools; 18 percent of pool fatalities occurred in above-ground pools; and only 7 percent of reported pool fatalities occurred in portable pools.

To improve pool safety, the CPSC encourages parents and children to take its Pool Safety Pledge. Parents must commit to designate a water watcher every single time children in their care are in or near the water, learn CPR, teach their children to swim, and properly secure pools with fences. Meanwhile, children must promise to never swim alone and stay away from drains in the pool or hot tub.