Drowning Facts: Five Frantic Minutes

Drowning Facts: Five Frantic Minutes
Water safety is possible through education and preparation. At Pool Fence DIY, we’ve gone over the statistics. Of all the drowning facts we’ve seen, this one is the most chilling:

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):

77% of swimming pool accident victims had been missing for five minutes or less when they were found in the pool drowned or submerged.

That’s right: three out of four drowning cases happen mere moments after a child steps out of adult supervision. Disaster can happen in an instant. As we’ve discussed on the blog, drowning is quick and silent. Today, let’s take a look at some other worrisome drowning facts and explore steps that can help keep children safer near the water.

Terrifying Drowning Facts to Remember

 Keeping children safe should be everyone’s concern. It certainly is ours. The fact is, water safety is every person’s responsibility.

Each year, the CPSC publishes a report on drowning and non-fatal drowning incidents. Here are a few more harrowing drowning facts from the CPSC’s 2015 report:

  • Nearly 300 children younger than five drown in swimming pools and spas each year, representing 76 percent of the 382 fatalities reported for children younger than 15.
  • Children ages one to three years (12 months through 47 months) represented 65 percent of the reported fatalities and 64 percent of reported injuries in pools and spas.
  • More than 4,100 children younger than five suffered non-fatal drowning injuries and required emergency department treatment.
  • The majority of fatal drowning incidents and non-fatal drowning injuries involving victims younger than five years old occur in pools owned by family, friends, or relatives.
  • Residential locations dominated incidents involving victims younger than five years old. Eighty-seven percent of the fatalities occurred at residential pools or spas.
  • Portable pools accounted for 10 percent of the total fatalities, with an average of 40 deaths per year for children younger than 15.

Those certainly are some worrisome drowning facts. As parents and caregivers, what can be done to help prevent tragedies like these?

Using Layers of Protection Can Save Lives

As you can see, the numbers are pretty scary. To make matters worse, in many of these incidents, the child was just being watched less than five minutes before. Often, the child was last seen in the house, nowhere near the pool. In a situation like these, the parents were completely unaware of a water danger situation. For this reason, it pays to be prepared for anything, all year long. The unthinkable can happen at any moment.

To help prevent accidents, we recommend using multiple layers of protection. By implementing a variety of drowning prevention methods, parents can greatly reduce the odds of a potential disaster. The CPSC prescribes effective layers of protection that should supplement parent supervision.

  • Install locks on all doors and windows leading to the pool. These should be high enough to be out of the reach of little ones.
  • Install safety alarms on the doors and windows that access the pool.
  • Obviously, we support the use of a pool safety fence. This barrier isolates the pool from the home. To be truly effective, any pool fence should be at least four-feet-tall with a self closing, self latching gate.
  • Install an alarm inside the pool. Additionally, consider a wearable alarm for your child.
  • Don’t forget the importance of swimming lessons. We recommend beginning swimming lessons as early as you and your pediatrician feel comfortable.
  • CPR training can save lives. Administering CPR while paramedics are on the way can literally mean the difference between life and death.

The fact is, there is no such thing as total protection. But, with smart planning, parents and pool owners can get as close to drown-proofing their home as possible. Each layer of protection added works in tandem with the others. Together, these layers will significantly reduce the possibility of a child drowning incident. It’s a smart choice.

For further information, please browse the rest of the Pool Fence DIY safety blog. We’ve added helpful guides and resources for concerned pool owners, swimmers and parents.