Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under five and the second leading cause of death for people under 14. Many of these deaths happen in swimming pools. Our team of analysts found that between 2018 and 2020, 2,200 people drowned in swimming pools — nearly half of them were children.

Key findings:

  • Florida, California and Texas have the most pool drownings
  • Florida, Arizona and Louisiana have the highest rates of pool drownings
  • 707 children under five have drowned in pools since 2018

States with the most pool-related fatalities

Warm-weather states in the south and southwest have both the highest numbers of drownings and the highest drowning rates. Florida, California and Texas have each had more than 225 pool drownings in the last three years alone. Smaller states like Arizona, Louisiana and Georgia have higher rates of pool fatalities.

Pool fatalities in each state
State Total drownings Younger than five years old Five to 14 years old
Alabama 45 22  
Arizona 113 38  
Arkansas 25 13  
California 339 112 24
Colorado 16    
Connecticut 12    
Florida 413 156 24
Georgia 94 34 17
Hawaii 14    
Illinois 52 19  
Indiana 31 10  
Kansas 19    
Kentucky 16 10  
Louisiana 52 26  
Maryland 22    
Massachusetts 18    
Michigan 35    
Minnesota 19    
Mississippi 33 15  
Missouri 40 11  
Nevada 38    
New Jersey 48 11  
New Mexico 10    
New York 78 19 10
North Carolina 53 22  
Ohio 58 26  
Oklahoma 31 16  
Pennsylvania 48 17 10
South Carolina 29    
Tennessee 39 20  
Texas 245 100 10
Utah 14    
Virginia 38 10  
Washington 24    
Wisconsin 21    
Data sourced from the Centers for Disease Control

Nationwide, 40% of pool-related drownings involve a child under the age of five. However, in Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arkansas, that number is closer to 60%. Most pool-related drownings happen in the summer, with 65% of all pool drownings happening in June, July and August.

Between 2018 and 2020, 802 children died in pools nationwide. These states had the highest number of pool-related child fatalities:

  • Florida: 180
  • California: 136
  • Texas: 110
  • Georgia: 51
  • Arizona: 38

Informational graphic regarding pool injury statistics

Dangers of drowning injuries in residential pools

Non-fatal drowning injuries can be life-changing. They are also far more common than fatalities. Nationwide, there have been 18,600 non-fatal drowning injuries involving a child over the last three years. In 75% of these cases, the child was under the age of 5.

Around 50% of non-fatal drowning injuries involving a child happened at a residential pool. However, 25% happened at a public pool and 25% happened at an unknown location.

Pool safety tips for homeowners

Homeowners and fellow adult guests can take an active role in preventing drowning related injuries during the summer months. Aside from always keeping an eye out, the following tips are great action items to have top-of-mind while children are playing in the pool.

  1. Designate one person to watch each child. If everyone is watching everyone, no one is watching anyone
  2. Install water barriers around pools and spas (hot tubs)
  3. If a child is missing, check the water first
  4. Have a list of the rules and safety instructions and enforce them at all times with all guests
  5. Know basic water rescue skills like first aid and CPR
  6. Floaties do not prevent drownings
  7. Keep the pool visible at all times. Make sure you can see the bottom and remove toys from the pool when not being used

Insurance coverage to protect homeowners with pools

As much fun as pools are, they pose an increased liability risk to homeowners. The insurance industry describes pools as "attractive nuisances," essentially calling them dangerous fun. Homeowners with pools need to be aware of the levels of liability coverage on their home insurance policies.

What many homeowners don't know is if someone is seriously injured on your property, it's your home insurance liability that covers medical bills and civil settlements. All home insurance policies carry some levels of liability coverage. The standard HO-3 home insurance policy comes with $100,000 in liability coverage. It's recommended that homeowners with pools increase their liability coverage to $500,000 or more. Many in the insurance industry recommend an umbrella policy that grants an individual one million dollars in liability coverage across all lines of insurance, including auto.

Increasing liability coverage on your home insurance policy is simple. Contact your insurance agent or provider and request an increase in liability coverage. Bumping coverage from $100,000 to over $500,000 is only about a 10% to 15% increase on your home insurance premium.

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