Protect Your Family at the Pool with These Drowning Safety Tips

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review. We may earn money when you buy through our links.

Need to Know from SafeWise
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for young people, especially during summer.
  • Layers of supervision can break down quickly over the summer, and in just 20 to 30 seconds, a drowning can take place.
  • When people are drowning, they may be unable to call out or wave for help.
  • Drowning may not always look like drowning, so it’s important to know what to look for, such as heads low in the water and eyes closed.

According to a recent report from Slate, “In 10% of drownings, adults are nearby but have no idea the victim is dying.” That’s a relatively high percentage of what should be preventable. In fact, every year, an estimated 236,000 people drown.

Drowning is the second leading cause of “unintentional injury death for children ages 5-14,” according to data from the CDC, and data from 2021 prove that summer months (June, July, and August) are the deadliest for drownings.

Why is it the case? Because the victim’s body is focused on breathing and can’t always call out or wave for help. Many who are drowning can’t stop drowning or move toward a rescuer.

Stay Safe and become a SafeWise Insider!

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter to get the best safety news, product info, and deals.

By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

“The reason why we say there’s no one single means of preventing drowning entirely is because all of these layers can break down and the supervision layer can break down quite easily,” Adam Katchmarchis, an assistant professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and executive director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, told USA TODAY. “With just a 20 to 30 second lapse in supervision, a drowning can take place.”

How to look for drowning

Drowning may not look the way we see in the movies. Usually, there aren’t flailing arms or cries for help; instead, it’s essential to look for other signs that can save a life. Mario Vittone, U.S. Navy and Coast Guard veteran and an expert in lifesaving, says that these are the common signs of drowning:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over the forehead or eyes
  • Vertical position—not using legs
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Some other tips from SafeWise experts include:

  • Teach water safety.
  • Get swim education early.
  • Always supervise children around the water.
  • Fence off swimming pools and keep them locked.
  • Be aware of less obvious dangers around the home.
  • Keep bath time safe.
  • Use motion sensors at an outdoor home pool.

Summertime in the water should be fun, and with these tools for drowning prevention, you can help the water be a safe place for everyone.

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, SafeWise,,,,,,, and When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

Recent Articles

woman adjusting thermostat in bright home
Best Home Security Systems
After thousands of hours of tests and research, plus a combined 50+ years of experience,...
medical alert products on an illustrated background
8 Best Medical Alert Systems of 2023
See which medical alert system is the best to keep you and your loved one...
Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2023
SimpliSafe is the best DIY home security system because it's cost-efficient, effective, and easy to...
Man and woman couple wife husband set up surveillance security camera
2023 Best Home Security Systems for Renters
These renter-friendly home security systems keep your house or apartment safe and require less commitment...