2010 Child Drowning Statistics


2010 Pool Drowning Statistics
by Rob Cox, September 12, 2010

2010 Pool Drowning Statistics

Every year, the CPSC releases the data collected on the drowning and near drowning incidents in pools and spas collected during the year, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Of course, many drownings occur outside of June, July and August, however this data samples the period of largest use of water recreation, during the summer months.

Sadly, we can't expect to have a non-existent drowning rate, but this year, 2010 did see a reduction in US drownings of children during the summer. The average number of children lost is close to 200 per season. This year was lower at 172 children (under the age of 15) drowning between May 31 and September 6th.

Fewer swimming pool drownings in 2010 is little consolation for the families of 172 children lost this year. There still is a long way to go, with education and resources to continue to reduce the tragedies that bring such a black cloud over our industry. Most states made improvements in their numbers, the states with the largest numbers of incidents of pool drownings and pool near drownings this year are listed below. Over 180 non-fatal incidents occurred at our nation's pools and spas this summer.


2010-Pool-Drowning-Statistics-by-state image


Several high profile drownings occurred this year. In July, the young son of former NFL Quarterback Randall randall cunningham's young son, drowned in family spaCunningham drowned in the household spa, sunk into the floor and unprotected by a safe spa cover. Also this summer, 6 siblings drowned in the Red River. Cooling off on a hot summer day, but having never been taught to swim properly, a current pulled them all under.

Countless more stories are found online. And not only young children, although the age with the most vulnerability is the under-5 crowd, perform a Google search for "2010 pool drownings 12 year old", and you will be very surprised. Older kids who don't know how to swim may be at an even greater danger than very young children.  



  • There were more than 3300 unintentional drownings in the United States, an average of 9 per day.(CDC 2006)
    U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • For children 1-4 years old who died, 26% died from drowning (CDC 2006). Fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years (CDC 2005) 
    U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • It is estimated that for each drowning death, there are 1 to 4 non-fatal submersions serious enough to result in hospitalization. Children who still require CPR at the time of arrival to the emergency department have a poor prognosis, with at least half of survivors suffering significant brain damage.
    American Academy of Pediatrics
  • 19% of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with certified Lifeguards present.
    Drowning Prevention Foundation
  • Children under five and adolescents between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates.
    U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • An estimated 5,000 children age 14 and under are hospitalized due to unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability. National Safety Council
  • 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.
    Orange County, CA, Fire Authority
  • The majority of children who survive (92 percent) are discovered within two minutes following submersion, and most children who die (86 percent) are found after 10 minutes. Nearly all who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) die or are left with severe brain injury.
    National Safe Kids Campaign




PoolSafety.gov CPSC website for pool safety
Drowning Prevention Foundation nonprofit helping to prevent pool drowning
National Drowning Prevention Alliance nonprofit helping to prevent pool drowning
PoolSafely.gov More Pool Safety Tips from the CPSC
Make A Splash donate to provide swim lessons for underprivileged youths



The CPSC would like you to know that the danger of drownings extend beyond swimming pools, and beyond the pool season. Check this link for information on Home Drowning Dangers. “Back to school does not mean the end of the swimming season. Many children in warm weather states have fun in the water all year,” said Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC Chairman.






If you would like to Guest Post on our Pool Blog ~ or for permission to repost our Pool Blog on
your website, please contact the author by the email link at the top of the page. Thank you!