Drowning and Non-Fatal Submersion

Each year, too many children become victims of drowning and non-fatal submersion injuries. Each death means one more family tragedy.

Drowning & Non-Fata SubmersionsOther families experience close calls when a child has a submersion incident or near-drowning and requires emergency room attention or hospitalization. Some children are permanently brain damaged by these incidents.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act was designed to reduce deaths and submersion injuries by requiring public pools and spas to install new safety drain covers and other safety devices in certain circumstances. In addition, the P&SS Act calls for a public education and information campaign for consumers and industry professionals to raise awareness about drowning and entrapment prevention and to make sure all public pools and spas are compliant with the P&SS Act.

According to the CPSC 2013 Pool and Spa Submersion Report: Estimated Injuries and Reported Fatalities:

  •        Seventy-six percent of reported fatalities involved children younger than 5 years of age
  •        The overwhelming majority of the reported deaths and injuries happened in pools
  •        Eighty-five percent of fatalities of children less than 5 years of age occurred in residential locations
  •        Children between the ages of 12 to 35 months represented 64 percent of the 2008 – 2010 reported fatalities for children younger              than 15

Key data about non-fatal submersion injuries:

  • Seventy-eight percent of the ED-treated submersion injuries involved children younger than 5 years of age
  • The overwhelming majority of the estimated submersion injuries annually between 2010 and 2012 were in pools
  • Children between the ages of 12 and 35 months represented 64 percent of estimated injuries between 2008 and 2010
  • 51 percent of the victims of ED-treated pool or spa submersion injuries for 2010 through 2012 were admitted to the hospital or treated and transferred to another hospital, compared to 4 percent for ED-treated injuries to children that age involving all types of consumer products during the same time
  •  Approximately 53 percent of the estimated injuries between 2007 and 2009, involving children younger than 15, occurred at a home pool or spa

Practicing water safety steps in public and residential pools and spas could significantly reduce the number of children who are injured in non-fatal submersions or who drown every year.

Preventing Drowning and Non-Fatal Submersions

The Pool Safely campaign is designed to alert consumers and industry professionals to the numerous water safety steps that can be adopted to significantly reduce the number of child drowning deaths and submersion injuries that occur each year in the United States.
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Who is Virginia Graeme Baker?

Seven-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker’s tragic death inspired her family to advocate for pool and spa safety and moved Congress to act to prevent entrapments. 
Read more about her story

The Pool and Spa Safety Act: Staff interpretation and updates


Find the most up to date requirements for the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.