Drowning Prevention

In California, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related deaths among children under the age of five. Each year, near-drowning incidents result in life-long disabilities. The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the Drowning Prevention Foundation continue to raise awareness on this issue, and remind parents and caregivers that drowning is preventable. Follow us @CaliforniaDDS.

With the approach of summer weather and the swimming season, Governor Newsom issued his support of Drowning Prevention. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among children ages five and under. The Governor urges all Californians to enjoy activities but remain vigilant around babies and toddlers, and swimmers of all ages.

Governor’s Letter

The source of data on these graphs has been extracted from the Client Development and Evaluation Report (CDER), at the Department of Developmental Services.

Victims of near drowning accidents often experience disabilities for the remainder of their lives. These include central nervous system damage contributing to varying levels of brain damage, resulting in loss of memory, seizures, learning disabilities, paralysis, and sometimes coma. The surviving victims may also experience a lifetime of multiple medical problems including respiratory, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular disorders.

Children Age 0 through 5 years

YearPool DrowningPool and Other Drowning Total

Source: CDPH Vital Statistic Death Statistical Master Files and CDPH California Comprehensive Death Files Prepared by: CDPH, Center for Healthy Communities – Injury and Violence Prevention Branch

Require existing and new public swimming pools to be equipped with anti-entrapment devices and systems in order to prevent physical entrapment of swimmers.

California Health & Safety
California Department of Public Health
Department of Child Care Licensing
Department of Boating and Waterway


Last modified: February 23, 2024