Drownings are 100 percent preventable, but to prevent these tragedies, we need everyone to always follow these simple water safety steps.

Did you know?

Drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages 1-4. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data released in June 2020, on average, 379 children drown in pools and spas annually.

Drownings happen quickly and often they are silent. It’s not like in the movies, where children are portrayed as splashing and yelling for help.

In particular, installing more and even stronger layers of protection is key to prevention.

One of the best layers of protection is 4-sided fencing with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools and spas. We must prevent young children from being able to get near the water if an adult isn’t nearby.

Simple Steps You Can Take

Designate a Water Watcher: Supervision is one of the most important steps you can take to keep children safer in and around the water. Designate a Water Watcher – this is an adult, whose only job is to watch children when they’re in the pool. It’s important that the Water Watcher is not distracted by texting or phone calls.

Teach Kids to Swim: While supervision is critical, it is also important for children to learn how to swim. Kids who can’t swim face a much higher risk of drowning, so sign your children up for swimming lessons. Your local YMCA or parks and rec department are great places to go for information on swimming lessons – many even offer them for free or at a reduced cost.

Learn CPR: When your children are learning how to swim, it is important for you to learn CPR. In case of an emergency, bystander CPR can often make a real difference while you’re waiting for emergency first responders to arrive at the scene.

Check Drain Covers: Finally, regardless of whether you’re swimming in your home pool, or visiting a public pool, be sure that all drain covers are not loose or broken. Drains should be “VGB compliant,” which means they meet safety standards. If you own a pool and you’re not sure about the safety of your drain covers, a pool technician can let you know.

TAKE THE POOL SAFELY PLEDGE

We’re asking every adult and child in America to take the Pool Safely Pledge every year.

The Pledge is a call-to-action for everyone to commit to specific steps to be safer in and around the water:

  • Kids will pledge never to swim alone, will ask for swim lessons and will stay away from drains.
  • Adults will pledge to always designate a water watcher, learn CPR, make sure their kids know how to swim, remove portable pool ladders when not in use and ensure their pools have proper fencing, gates and safe drain covers.
  • Visit PoolSafely.gov/Pledge/ to electronically sign the Pledge or to request a hard copy.

We have collected more than 90,000 Pool Safely Pledges from adults and kids nationwide to date, including 15 Olympians!

2020 Drowning Data

For 2017 through 2019, an estimated average of 6,700 children younger than 15 years old were reportedly treated in hospital emergency rooms for non-fatal drowning injuries in pools or spas.

Between 2017 and 2019, the majority (76 percent) of children treated in emergency departments for pool- or spa-related, non-fatal drowning injuries were younger than 5 years of age.

Between 2017 and 2019, residential settings made up 71 percent of fatal reported incidents and at least 42 percent of non-fatal reported drowning incidents for children younger than 5.

Between 2017 and 2019, the majority (74 percent) of reported fatal drowning victims younger than 15 were younger than 5.

For children younger than 15 years old, boys had twice as many fatal child drownings as girls.

From 2014 through 2018, there were 11 victims of circulation entrapments in 11 incidents, with 100 percent of the incidents involving children younger than 15 years of age.

From those 11 incidents, there were two fatalities, both in residential spas. Since the VGB Act went into effect in Dec. 2008, there have been zero entrapment-related deaths involving children in public pools and spas.


Pool Safely is a national public education campaign from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).