What’s Behind the Higher Drowning Numbers in 2019, And What is the CPSC Doing About It?


AN underwater view of people swimming

The drowning statistics for summer 2019 are in, and they don’t look good. Despite CPSC regulations aimed at improving water safety, drowning deaths of children aged 15-years or younger increased from the same period of time last year. While the increase in deaths, from 148 to at least 150 seems relatively small, it’s still a total that represents children that died due to often preventable drowning injuries. While new CPSC regulations are unlikely to occur solely as a result of this increase, it still points to the need for manufacturers, installers, and pool owners to follow existing guidelines and do more to protect children.

What Led To The Increase In Deaths?

Unfortunately, there’s no one cause listed in the CPSC’s press release, and they may not know the full story behind the drowning statistics themselves. Their information was compiled from drownings reported in publicly available media sources by the USA Swimming Foundation, one of the collaborators in the CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign. In many instances of child drowning injuries, however, it all comes back to either lack of supervision or lack of enough supervision mixed with an absence of CPSC recommended safety features.

A safety fence surrounding a large pool area

What The CPSC Recommends To Pool Owners

Luckily, the CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign has some great guidelines to help you prevent drownings in your own backyard pool. These include both actions you can take and safety features you can install to do your part to make sure your pool isn’t tied to the next batch of drowning statistics.

  • Maintain A Safety Fence Around Your Pool – A four-sided fence with self-closing, self-latching gates is an important safety feature every pool should have. Designed to be unclimbable, it should not have any gaps that allow a child to slip through, around or under the fence posts or meshing. This helps create a physical barrier to keep kids out of the pool unless a supervising adult, who has the key to the gate, is available to let them into the pool and watch them.
    In addition, safety pool covers are available to add a second layer of physical protection. Made of rip-resistant material and anchored by sturdy rails along the edge of the pool, a child falling toward the water is caught and held above the surface until they can walk, crawl, or be helped to the edge and out of danger. When combined with a safety pool fence, a safety cover can have a dramatic impact on drowning statistics.
  • Assign An Adult To Be The Water Watcher And Supervise Children Near Water At All Times – Adult supervision can be the most important link in the chain of water safety. A child can become fatigued or distressed without warning, so it’s important that adults remain vigilant when supervising youths who are swimming or playing in the pool area, even if they are accomplished swimmers or are staying in the shallow areas. The designated Water Watcher may have to act fast, and they can’t do that with divided attention.
  • Learn How To Swim And Teach Your Child How To Swim – The drowning statistics prove that accidental drownings can still happen to even accomplished swimmers, but teaching children swimming skills increases their familiarity with water and teaches them how to save themselves if they end up in the pool. Children as young as infants can begin learning survival swimming, and there’s no maximum age for them to learn if you missed the boat early. If you don’t feel you can adequately instruct them, check with your local pools about lessons for swimmers and instructor certification classes so you can be ready next time.
  • Get Certified In Infant, Child, And Adult CPR And First Aid – If you own a pool, you need to know what to do in the case of an emergency. Getting certified in CPR and first aid by the American Red Cross gives you valuable life-saving skills. Whether it’s a cut from a broken bottle, a sudden cardiac arrest, or a drowning injury, you’ll be ready to help the victim until professional medical help arrives. This can be the difference between a child surviving a water injury and them becoming part of the CPSC’s drowning statistics.
  • Promote A Culture Of Water Safety – This includes warning kids to stay away from drains, pipes, and other pool features that can lead to entrapment. Every pool should comply with CPSC regulations relating to anti-entrapment drains and emergency pump shut-offs, but if yours doesn’t upgrade it immediately. In addition, teach kids how to watch for hazards around the pool that could cause slips, falls, cuts, or electrocution. By making a safety check a standard part of their swimming experience, you’re teaching them how to conduct themselves properly around water, and it may save their life.

Your backyard pool can be a fun summer retreat, and with some planning, forethought, and an eye toward safety, you can make sure your summer plans aren’t included in next year’s drowning statistics. We’re always ready to help.

Make Your Pool Area Safer

Barriers, like pool safety fences and safety pool covers aren’t just recommended by the CPSC. They’re required by law, HOAs, and insurance carriers in many instances. They don’t have to break the bank or leave you with an ugly pool area, however. We’re able to tailor our pool safety installations to preserve your water amenity’s beauty while still offering the protection your family, friends, and pets deserve. Contact us today, and one of our specialists will schedule a time to come talk with you about your pool safety needs and offer advice on the options that work best for your pool. Create a safer swimming pool and help do your part to reduce drowning statistics with Aqua-Safe Unlimited.