COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to Spike in Child Drowning

The Covid pandemic that began in 2020 put everyone’s lives into upheaval, and it’s been especially challenging for parents who have to continue working with kids at home all day.

While it’s nice to just let kids go, parents should be aware that researchers are seeing a new phenomenon – COVID-19 increases rates in drowning.

Drowning Stats Are Alarming: Pandemic Increases Risks

Drowning statistics were already concerning before the pandemic hit.

Here’s a glimpse of child drowning statistics before the pandemic:

  • Drowning is the primary cause of death for children ages 1-4 and teens.
  • More than 60% of fatal drownings of 0-4 year olds occur in swimming pools
  • About 57% of child drownings are due to the lack of adult supervision.
  • Every year, an estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to near- drowning incidents
  • Every year, around 600 children and adults drown in swimming pools, many have brain damage or life-changing injuries.

Groups that are focused on drowning prevention and water safety express concerns that we could see a spike in drownings this year as a result of the pandemic. Their concerns are valid for these reasons:

  • Many parents are forced to work at home and may not be able to supervise children closely in a pool.
  • More children are at home because of school closures.
  • Summer swim lessons have been canceled or postponed.
  • Many municipal swimming pools are closed for the season.

It stands to reason that we have the perfect storm for an increase in child drownings because of the impact of COVID-19.

Increases in Child Drowning During Pandemic

Have we seen a surge in child drownings so far?

Texas and Florida reported higher numbers of child deaths in 2020 than before the pandemic. In Arizona, drowning deaths tripled in 2020. In San Diego, county health departments reported having to rescue an increasing number of San Diego children from private pools after near-drownings. Reports show that the county made 49 water rescues, up from 37 in the same time period in 2019.

How to Prevent Child Drowning During COVID-19

Water safety is an utmost priority for children of all ages and adults at any time of year.

Despite what many people think, children don’t always scream and wave their arms wildly when they feel like they’re drowning.

Signs of a Possible Drowning

Can you say that you’re familiar with the signs of a possible drowning? If not, be on the lookout for these distress signals:

  • A child is face down and floating on the water.
  • A child’s mouth is open and the head is tilted back.
  • A child is gasping for air.
  • A child is swimming in one direction but isn’t moving forward.

How to Prevent a Preschooler From Drowning

  • Supervise them closely.
  • Be mindful of children who have a habit of wandering.
  • Be aware that small children don’t make much noise when entering a pool.

How to Prevent Drowning

These general drowning rules apply to all children:

  • Ensure that a responsible adult is present to supervise children while playing in or around water.
  • Post a CPR placard for adults to refer to.
  • Review basic swim safety rules with guests when they visit.
  • Review basic swim safety rules with your family.
  • Enroll your children in swimming classes.
  • Learn CPR and water rescue techniques.
  • Take extra precautions for children or adults that have epilepsy, which can cause seizures, and lead to drowning.
  • Learn what to do in the event of an emergency. Store emergency numbers in your cell phone and keep it within easy reach. A very useful idea is posting a large sign on a perimeter wall that is clearly visible with all emergency numbers. Posting the home address on this sign is very useful as well, especially if a guest needs to tell emergency services where to go.

Learn CPR and Rescue Techniques

Learning CPR could save a child’s life. You may be able to save your child or someone else’s child if you get help right away.

CPR procedures:

Follow these CPR procedures for children age 1-8:

Be aware that if a child’s heart has stopped for 8-10 minutes, there is little chance of survival.

Child drownings can happen silently and in seconds. Be on the defense with a SwamCam pool alarm that alerts you when someone enters the pool area. SwamCam gives you peace of mind when leaving the pool area.