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Swimming Injury Statistics

Swimming Pool splashing

Many people enjoy swimming pools and don't think about drowning. And yet every day, nine people drown in the United States. The statistics can be quite alarming, especially for parents with young kids -- but it does help people to realize the reality of the potential dangers of swimming pools. Be sure to check out our swimming pool safety tips as well to help prevent accidents from occurring.

Drowning Statistics

  • Each day in the United States, nine people drown.
  • For each death caused by drowning, there are 1-4 nonfatal submersion accidents serious enough for the victim to be hospitalized.
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14.
  • Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4.
  • Male children have a drowning rate more than two times that of female children. However, females having a bathtub drowning rate twice that of males.
  • Among children ages 1 to 4 years, most drownings occur in residential swimming pools.
  • Four-sided fencing that isolates the pool from the house and the yard has shown to decrease the number of drowning injuries anywhere from 50 to 90 percent.
  • More than half of drownings among infants (under age 1) occur in bathtubs, buckets or toilets.
  • Portable pools make up 11% of all pool drownings for children under age 5.
  • Nonfatal drownings can result in brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.
  • Nineteen percent of child drowning fatalities take place in public pools with certified lifeguards on duty.
  • Roughly 5,000 children 14 and under go to the hospital because of accidental drowning-related incidents each year; 15% die and about 20% suffer from permanent neurological disability.
  • Seventy-seven percent of those involved in a home-drowning accident had only been missing for five minutes or less when found in the swimming pool; 70% weren't expected to be in or near the pool at that time.
  • The most common place for a 1-4-year old child to drown is in a home swimming pool.
  • In nearly 9 out of 10 child-drowning deaths, a parent or caregiver claimed to be watching the child.
  • Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages 1-4.

2011 Drowning Statistic

  • Between Memorial Day June 28, 2011, there were 48 drownings and 75 near-drowning events in 35 states and territories.

2008 Drowning Statistic

  • According to the United States Lifesaving Association, there were a total of 101 drowning fatalities on America's lifeguarded beaches in 2008; 83 deaths occured without a lifeguard present, and 18 while a lifeguard was present.

2007 Drowning Stats

  • In 2007, there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings -- 10 deaths per day. About 1 in 5 were children ages 14 and younger.
  • More than half of the drowning victims treated in emergency departments needed hospitalization or transferred to a higher level of care -- like a trauma unit.
  • Nearly 80 percent of people who died from drowning were male.
  • There were approximately 283 drowning deaths for children 5 and under per year between 2005 and 2007 and 2,100 children were taken to the ER for submersion-related injuries.
  • Drowning deaths on America's lifeguarded beaches reached 109 in 2007 according to the United States Lifesaving Association; 89 individuals while the area was unguarded and 20 while it was guarded.

2006 Drowning Statistics

  • 3,703 children under the age of five were injured in near-drowning incidents in 2006.
  • 2006 U.S. Coast Guard reports included 4,967 boating incidents, 3,474 boating injuries, and 710 boating deaths. Nine out of ten of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
  • Of the fatal boating accidents in 2006, 70% involved an operator who had no boating safety training.
  • Twenty percent of the boating-related deaths in 2006 involved alcohol.
  • In comparision to 2005, almost twice as many children drowned in boating incidents in 2006.
  • For the second year in a row, boating fatalities have increased with a total of 710 deaths.
  • According to the United States Lifesaving Association, there were a total of 100 drowning fatalities on America's lifeguarded beaches in 2006; 89 deaths occured without a lifeguard present, and 11 while a lifeguard was present.

2005 Drowning Statistics

  • In 2005, there were 3,582 accidental drowning-deaths in the United States, an average of ten deaths per day.
  • More than one in four fatal drowning victims are children ages 14 and younger.
  • For every child who died from drowning in 2005, another four received emergency room care for nonfatal injuries.
  • In 2005, males were four times more likely than females to die from accidental drownings in the United States.
  • Of all children 1 to 4 years old who died in 2005, almost 30 percent died from drowning.
  • Between 2000 and 2005, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African-Americans was 1.3 times that of whites. For American Indians and Alaskan Natives, the rate was 1.8 times that of whites.

2003 Drowning Stats

  • In 2003, nearly 4,200 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for accidental drowning-related incidents.
  • In 2003, males accounted for 80 percent of people who drowned in the U.S.
  • Nine of 10 drowning-related deaths occurred while a child was being supervised.
  • Alcohol use is involved in 25-50 percent of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation.Medical costs for a near-drowning victim aged 14 and under can cost more than $8,000 for initial hospital treatment to over $250,000 a year for long-term care. If the injury resulted in brain damage, the cost could rise over $5.5 million, including medical, work loss and quality of life costs.

Circulation Entrapment Injury Statistics for Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs

Circulation entrapment occurs when a swimmer is trapped by the suction generated by the water rushing out of the drain in a pool, hot tub, spa, or whirlpool. Individuals can be caught by a limb, jewelry, hair, hair accessory, or swimsuit. Young swimmers are the most common victims because of their weak physical strength against the suction, leading to injury and sometimes even death.

2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004 Circulation Entrapment Statistics:

  • In 2007, two fatalities and three injuries associated with circulation entrapment were reported.
  • There were nine injuries caused by circulation entrapment in 2006.
  • Ten injuries due to circulation entrapment were reported in 2005.
  • In 2004, there was one fatality and three injuries associated with circulation entrapment.

1999-2007 Circulation Entrapment Stats

  • Due to circulation entrapment during the period of 1999-2007, six deaths and 28 injuries occurred in pools; three deaths and 22 injuries took place in hot tubs and spas; and 13 injuries happened in whirlpools.
  • Between 1999 and 2007, two deaths and 20 injuries happened in public pools, hot tubs, spas and whirlpools, while seven deaths and 33 injuries occurred in residential pools, hot tubs, spas and whirlpools.
  • The highest number of total fatality and injury victims of circulation entrapment involved victims between the ages of 5 and 14.

1990-2004 Drowning and Ciriculation Entrapment Statistics

  • More than 800 drownings in hot tubs and spas have been reported to the CPSC from 1990-2004.
  • From 1990-2004, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reports of 74 incidents involving bodypart entrapment. Of those 74 reports, 13 people died and two were disemboweled.
  • The CPSC knows of 43 incidents, including 12 deaths, from 1990-2004 in which the victim's hair was the object suctioned into the drain.
  • From 1990-2004, several deaths have been reported to the CPSC that were caused by extremely hot water (approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit) in a spa.
Sources: "Water-Related Injuries: Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 12, 2007.

"Water-Related Injuries: Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 12, 2008.
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