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Fact Sheet


Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death among children age 14 and under. The majority of drownings occur in residential swimming pools. However, children may drown in as little as one inch of water. Therefore, children are at risk around wading pools, bathtubs, buckets, toilets, and hot tubs. Typically, older children are more likely to drown in open water sites, such as lakes, rivers and oceans.

Childhood drowning occurs quickly and silently, typically when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse in supervision. A child will lose consciousness two minutes following submersion. Irreversible brain damage occurs after four to six minutes. Nationwide, 92% of children who survive are discovered within two minutes following submersion.

Prevention Tips
 Never leave a child unattended in and around water. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water in the same time it takes to answer the doorbell or telephone.
 Nationwide, over 60% of drownings occur in swimming pools. Never leave a child unsupervised in or around a swimming pool. Play flotation devices are not a substitute for a life jacket or supervision. CPR training is suggested for pool owners and water enthusiasts.
 Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates, that completely surround the swimming pool. The fencing should prevent direct access from the house and yard.
 When boating, always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD. It is estimated that over 80% of boating-relating drownings could have been saved if the victim had been wearing a PFD. Air-filled "swimming aides" are not considered safety devices and are not a substitute for PFDs.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
National SAFE KIDS Campaign

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or phone 605-361-7785 or 1-800-952-5539.