Drowning: The Second Leading Cause of Unintentional Injury Death

Ever wondered how many children drown each year? Too many. While drowning is totally preventable, it’s the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for kids. The ZAC Foundation Makes Water Safety as Simple as Knowing Your A, B, C and D’s

Families are making a splash in their backyard swimming pools again this year. But while swimming is a super fun activity and a cool way to beat the heat, it can also pose a real danger to children.

In fact, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 5-9, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, drowning can be prevented through proper water safety skills and measures.

Prevent Child Drownings with Water Safety Education and Information

Before children take a dip in the pool, families must know and always practice the ABCDs of water safety, according to The ZAC Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of water safety.

A is for Adult: Watch your children closely when they are in and around water. There can be no distractions. That means no phones, electronic devices, socializing, doing household chores, etc. You can also designate a water watcher whose only responsibility is to watch the surface of the water and ensure no child drowns. Flotation devices and swimming aids, like puddle jumpers, are not a substitute for supervision.

B is for Barriers: Install a fence that surrounds your pool. Install locks and alarms on the pool fence gate and on the door from the house to the pool area. Wondering how else to keep your pool safe? Visit our Pool safety page to stay informed.

Be sure all toys are out of view, so children aren’t enticed to enter the pool area unattended.

C is for Classes: Kids and adults should take safety classes like swimming lessons, water safety, CPR, and first-aid.

D is for Drains: Pool and spa drains can pose a serious danger. Swimmers must stay away from them at all times. If a drain cover becomes loose or falls off, shut down and evacuate the pool immediately. No one should enter the pool area until it is repaired. Visit Drain Safety for more details on what you should look for in any pool or spa.

Know all of the signs of drowning. Drowning isn’t loud and dramatic. It’s silent and subtle. A child struggling to swim can go unnoticed far too easily. In fact, up to half of all kids who drown are less than 25 yards away from an adult and nearly 70% of children drown during non-swim time (Cook Children’s Medical Center). Even more reason not to rely on puddle jumpers and inflatables as they often provide children with a false sense of confidence and parents with a false sense of security.

The ZAC Foundation is on a mission to prevent child drownings nation and worldwide. Stay informed – read our other Water Safety FAQs, listen to our Podcast, and subscribe to receive our email Newsletter!