As we mentioned last month, it’s been quite a strange summer for swimming safety. Between the lockdowns, and then pools and water parks reopening, the numbers have not been very reliable. With that in mind, the U.S. Drowning Stats for August 2020 are showing a steady increase in incidents. While it’s difficult to draw conclusions about the stats from these summer months, let’s take a closer look at what the numbers are showing us. Shedding some light on these drowning stats often opens to the floor to new questions and possible solutions.

U.S. Drowning Stats for August 2020

Every month, we’re proud to share these U.S. Drowning Stats. These numbers are collected by Total Aquatic Programming, which we’ll highlight in this article. As always, these stats and detailed maps serve as invaluable tools for the water safety community. Under normal conditions, and even now, they are a terrific aid for tracking dangerous trends.

The team at Total Aquatic Programming has been collecting these drowning stats since 2009.  Their goal is to discover common problem areas when it comes to swimming and water safety. Together, we can work to improve our water safety education and help prevent drowning incidents from occurring in the future.

As our loyal readers know, this basic chart focuses on four key age groups and how they are affected by drowning:

  • Children aged four and younger
  • Children aged 12 and under
  • Teenagers
  • Adults, meaning anyone older than teens

Chart: Drowning Stats for August 2020

U.S. Drowning Stats for August 2020

Now, as you can see in the drowning stats for August 2020… we’re seeing a stark jump in numbers. This directly contrasts with what we saw via last month’s statistics. By far, the largest jump in drowning incidents was in the “adult” category. We’re also seeing higher numbers when comparing the drowning stats for August 2020 with those from 2019. And if you compare these stats to those of 2018, it’s a significant increase.

Why is this the case? At this point, we can only speculate. Perhaps with the reopening of water parks and public spaces, adults have become a lot more brazen. While it is true that the CDC says it is perfectly safe to swim during the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be other issues at play. It’s possible that after months of quarantine and lockdowns, adults have been a bit too carefree in their return to the water. Basic swimming safety rules should always be followed. Additionally, while we want everyone to enjoy themselves, please remember that alcohol and swimming do not mix. In fact, they can very easily lead to tragedy. Pandemic or no pandemic, we should all strive to take extra care near the water.

Understanding The Numbers: Drowning Maps for 2019/2020

In addition to the drowning stats for August 2020, Total Aquatic Programming has provided us with two additional graphics. The first is a nationwide drowning map for all of 2019. This map identifies “hot spots” of child drowning incidents on a state-by-state basis. Please take a look at the map below. It has been updated to include all drownings that occurred through July 2019.


Up next is the detailed 2020 map that takes a closer look at child drownings. Please note that the numbers inside each state on this map represent the ages of the children involved in these incidents, not the number of children. Each age represents one child. So, if a child was 10-11-12 years old, their age is underlined.  For example, a 12-year-old would be listed on the map as “12.”


Where Do These Drowning Stats Come From?

As mentioned earlier, these U.S. Drowning Stats and graphics are brought to us courtesy of Sue and Mick Nelson of Total Aquatic Programming, LLC. The national governing body for competitive swimming in the United States, USA Swimming, also uses this information.

If you are interested in learning more about the people behind this data, watch our full Child Safety Source interview with Mick Nelson. Additionally, you can visit Total Aquatic Programming’s official website.