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CPSC New Drowning Report Shows Increase in Child Fatalities

CPSC New Drowning Report Shows Increase in Child Fatalities


Agency Calls for Increased Water Safety Vigilance This Summer for All Families with Children and Historically Excluded Communities with Higher Drowning Risks

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2024 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — As the summer swim season kicks off with the opening of pools nationwide, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released its annual drowning and submersion report. Focused on deaths and injuries for children under age 15, the report shows that fatal drownings for children increased 12 percent in 2021, the most recent year for which data are available, compared to 2020. Drowning remains the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4 years old, with a disproportionately higher risk for swimming-aged children in Black communities. CPSC urges families with young children and those in historically excluded communities to prioritize water safety, as they spend more time in and around pools.

Experience the full interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/9270751-cpsc-pool-safely-summer-swim-campaign/

CPSC’s report addresses nonfatal drownings for the period 2021 through 2023 and fatal drownings for the period 2019 through 2021, reflecting a lag in the reporting of fatal drowning statistics.

CPSC’s latest data show the following for children in the U.S. younger than 15 years of age:

  • Between 2019 and 2021, there was an average of 358 pool- or spa-related fatal drownings reported per year and 75% of those victims were younger than 5 years of age.
  • The number of fatal child drownings in 2021 was 380, a 12 percent increase from the 339 fatal drownings reported in the previous year.
  • Between 2021 and 2023, there was an average of 6,500 estimated pool- or spa-related, hospital emergency department (ED)-treated, nonfatal drowning injuries each year.

Additionally, the report highlighted specific drowning hazards for children under 5 years of age:

  • In 2023, 77 percent of all estimated pool- or spa-related, ED-treated, nonfatal drowning injuries involved children younger than 5 years of age.
  • Between 2019 and 2021, there was an average of 269 pool- or spa-related fatal drownings for children under 5, roughly 75 percent of the total average number of fatal drownings for all children under 15.

“Children can drown quickly and silently and the increase in drownings for this age group is a sobering reminder of how prevalent these tragedies are,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “Parents and caregivers should never let their guard down around water, that means installing layers of protection, like fencing, alarms, pool covers, and self-latching features to keep unsupervised kids from accessing the water.”

Where location was known, 81 percent of fatal drownings involving children under age 15 occurred in a residential setting, including at the victim’s home, or at the home of a family member, friend, or neighbor.

The report also highlights the continuing trend of racial disparities in drowning fatalities. Out of the 71 percent of drowning fatalities involving children under age 15 whose race was specified, African American children made up 23 percent of all drownings, higher than 15 percent of the population for that age.

For drowning fatalities among children aged 5 to 14, 45 percent of drowning deaths involved African Americans where race was identified. These numbers highlight the importance of reaching historically excluded communities with water safety information and support.

Parents and caregivers can follow Pool Safely’s simple steps to keep children safer in and around the water:

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water, and always designate an adult Water Watcher. This person should not be reading, texting, using a phone or being otherwise distracted. In addition to pools and spas, this warning includes bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds, and fountains.
  • If you own a pool or spa, install layers of protection, including barriers to prevent an unsupervised child from accessing the water. Homes can use door alarms, pool covers, and self-closing, self-latching devices on fence gates and doors that access pools.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults. Many communities offer online CPR training.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. If you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.

You can read the full CPSC drowning and entrapment reports by visiting PoolSafely.gov.

Pool Safely, a national public education campaign supporting the requirements of Section 1407 of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, works with collaborators around the country to reduce child drownings, nonfatal drownings and entrapment incidents in swimming pools and spas. Parents, caregivers and the media are encouraged to visit: PoolSafely.gov or to follow Pool Safely on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and X for vital safety information regarding the prevention of child drownings in and around pools and spas.

For more information, contact Nikki Fleming in CPSC’s Office of Communications at [email protected].

Individual Commissioners may have statements related to this topic. Please visit www.cpsc.gov/commissioners to search for statements related to this or other topics.

About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.

Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

For lifesaving information:
– Visit CPSC.gov.
– Sign up to receive our e-mail alerts.
– Follow us on Facebook, Instagram @USCPSC, and X @USCPSC.
– Report a dangerous product or a product-related injury on www.SaferProducts.gov.
– Call CPSC’s Hotline at 800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054).
– Contact a media specialist.

SOURCE U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

CPSC New Drowning Report Shows Increase in Child Fatalities