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Drowning Prevention

Drowning is the leading cause of death and disability in California for children under 5 years of age. Approximately 60 children ages 5 years old and under lose their lives to drowning each year. 

California Department of Developmental Services (DSS) data shows that 52 children per year survive but are disabled because of a near-drowning accident. Those who survive near-drowning accidents may live with severe disabilities for the rest of their lives. 

Two parents with baby side of pool

Drowning is preventable.  Anyone can drown.

  • Drowning can be fast and silent, occurring without a struggle or splash.
  • Young children are more at risk and can drown in any body of water, including a bucket, bathtub, sink, pool, or spa.

Drowning Prevention is most effective with a “layers of protection” approach:

  • Never leave a child alone near water, even for a few seconds.
  • A supervising adult should be close enough to touch any child under 4 years old who is near water.
  • Keep a constant adult eye on young children.
  • All collections of water are dangerous for infants and toddlers including bathtubs, buckets, toilets, ponds, spas, swimming pools, and natural water sites.
  • Swimming pools should have fences, alarms, and drains that meet regulations.
  • Pool gates should be self-latching, opening outward, with the latch out of reach for a child.
  • Always keep reaching and throwing aids near a swimming pool.
  • All children should wear a personal floatation device while playing near bodies of water.
  • Parents and child caregivers should know how to perform rescue techniques and be trained in strategies to respond in an emergency.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first.

For more information, please visit:

Safety posters

Summer Swim Safety Infograph


Pool Safety PosterPool Safety Poster
Click to download and print this guide to keep your child water safe.


For Healthcare Providers: 

Encourage parents to review their family’s safety plan and take steps to prevent drowning accidents. Drowning remains one of the leading causes of death and disability for individuals ages 19 and under. Young children and infants may be more at risk – and new parents may not be aware. Please spend a few minutes with your clients and provide them with information on how they can prevent a tragedy.