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Swimming Pool and Child Drowning Accidents


Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children aged 1-4 years. More than 60 percent of fatal drownings of 0 to 4-year-old children occur in swimming pools, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Americans love to swim — especially children. Among children and teens between the age of 7 and 17, swimming is the number one most popular recreational activity.

Unfortunately, between 2011 and 2013, there was an average of 367 pool or spa related drownings per year involving children under age 15, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). An estimated 5,600 pool or spa-related injuries requiring hospitalization occurred annually between 2011 and 2013.

Drowning is not always deadly, but for every one child that passes away from drowning, there are five others that require emergency department care for non-fatal submersion injuries, according to the CDC. Non-fatal submersion injuries can still prove to be very serious and long lasting, which includes severe brain damage, memory problems, and learning disabilities.


  • Drowning kills more children between the ages of 1 and 4 than any other cause except birth defects.
  • Drowning accounts for one-third of all deaths caused by unintentional injury in children ages 1 to 4 years old.
  • Among children 1-14 years old, drowning remains the second leading causes of unintentional injury-related death, only behind motor vehicle crashes.
  • While residential swimming pools remain the most common cause of drowning in children ages 1 to 4 years old, children under the age of one most often drown in bathtubs, buckets, and toilets.
  • Among children over the age of 15, most drowning occurred in natural water settings including lakes, rivers, and oceans.
  • About 20 percent of child drowning deaths occur in public pools where a certified lifeguard is present.


Whether the children are swimming in your backyard, a community pool, or an open area, these five swimming pool safety tips will help keep children safe in the water and prevent swimming pool accidents.

  1. Never leave children unattended in or near the water.
    • Keep an eye on children at all times while they are partaking in a swim or playing near the water’s edge.
  2. Teach children how to swim early.
    • Swimming is fun, a healthy exercise, and a potential life saver.
  3. Keep children away from drains and suction outlets.
    • Tell your children to avoid playing or swimming near drains and suction outlets, where a child’s hair, jewelry, or bathing suit can get caught.
  4. Install a fence, barrier, alarm system or cover to keep kids from entering the pool area without your knowledge.
    • The pool should only be accessible through a self-closing or self-latching gate.
  5. Become CPR certified. Know how to administer CPR to both children and adults in case of an emergency.


According to the CDC, here are the top three factors that affect drowning risk and swimming injury in children.

  • Lack of swimming ability. Formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years.
  • Lack of fencing or barriers. A fence area, completely surrounding the pool, reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83 percent.
  • Lack of supervision. It can take just a matter of seconds for a child to become submerged in a swimming pool and minutes to become unconscious.


Another form of swimming pool accident is “circulation entrapment.” The CPSC defines circulation entrapment as being caught in the water circulation system in a pool or spa, which includes the drain and suction outlets. Here are some facts about circulation entrapment:

  • Between 2011 and 2015, there were 20 incidents of reported circulation entrapment injuries.
    • Out of the 20 incidents, only one victim was fatally injured.
  • 78 percent of the victims of circulation entrapment were younger than 15 years old.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of victims were trapped in a suction incident.
  • 35 percent of circulation entrapment incidents involved entrapment of a limb.


If your child was injured in a swimming pool accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim. Our firm has represented injured children across the state of Texas for over two decades. Call us today to receive a free legal consultation and to talk to our legal professionals.



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