Water Safety


Oregon is home to some of the most beautiful ocean beaches, rivers, and lakes anywhere, not to mention thousands of swimming pools. With these recreation opportunities comes risk. Despite a substantial decline since the late 1980s, drowning is still the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children ages 14 and under, and accounts for more than 25% of all deaths of children aged 1 to 4.


Drowning is a quick and silent killer. In the time it takes to:

  • Cross the room for a towel (10 seconds), a child in the bathtub can become submerged.
  • Answer the phone (2 minutes), a child submerged in the bathtub can lose consciousness.
  • Sign for a package at your front door (4-6 minutes), a child submerged in the bathtub or pool can sustain permanent brain damage.


Most drownings and near-drownings occur in residential swimming pools and many take place in the child's home pool, or at the homes of friends, neighbors, or relatives. But it doesn't take a pool to create a lethal hazard. Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water. This puts them at risk of drowning in wading pools, bathtubs, buckets, diaper pails, toilets, spas, and hot tubs.


 Risk Factors

  • The majority of children who drown in swimming pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight for less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.
  • In-ground swimming pools without complete four-sided isolation fencing are 60% more likely to be involved in drownings than those with four-sided isolation fencing.
  • Drownings and near-drownings tend to occur on weekends (40%) and between the months of May and August (66%).
  • Older children are more likely to drown in open water sites, such as lakes, rivers, and oceans.