The U.S. Drowning Stats for October 2020 have been released. As we’ve started the season of fall, many pools across the nation have been closed for the colder months. Does this have an effect on the overall drowning rates for October versus the rest of the year? Absolutely! Less people swimming means less risk of drowning. Of course, we’re not completely safe just yet.

Today, let’s take a closer look at the drowning stats for October 2020. Through these statistics and maps, we’ll see some key areas where further safety education may be needed.

U.S. Drowning Stats for October 2020

Regular readers of this safety blog know all about our monthly blogs about drowning statistics. Each month, Total Aquatic Programming provides Life Saver Pool Fence with detailed charts that break down 11 years of drowning stats. We will talk more about our friends at Total Aquatic Programming in a bit, but first let’s dig into the data.

The stats discussed in this blog post have been collected and updated since 2009. Overall, the goal of these U.S. drowning stats is to discover common problem areas when it comes to swimming and water safety. More than 15 separate data items are tracked for every drowning that has occurred throughout the country.

These items include, but are not limited to:

  • date
  • state
  • city
  • county
  • age and sex of the victim
  • ethnicity, if recorded
  • body of water
  • and several other circumstances that can help to provide some guidance in the prevention of drowning.

Through careful examination, we can notice patterns in drowning cases from month to month and from year to year. This helps to provide insights for preventative measures that parents, guardians and safety professionals should be careful to put into place.

Chart: Drowning Stats for October 2020

Drowning Stats for October 2020

This 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

During the month of October 2020, we saw a decline in overall drownings versus what occurred in other years. While the numbers are not better than some previous years, it’s certainly better than 2016, when we saw a whopping 138 total drowning incidents.

Now, there can be many reasons for this lower number. For one, we can’t talk about the outdoors without addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is true that the CDC says it is safe to swim during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have either closed their pool early or chosen to stay inside. Parents may also be a bit more protective of children at the moment, which may be why we saw some steep drops in the drownings of younger swimmers. There may be a reluctance to even go to the beach or pool. The one area where we saw a slight rise over 2019 is in the category marked by adult drownings. Sometimes adults can engage in riskier behavior than their kids. Either way, it’s good to see most of the other numbers drop. We should keep pushing for lower numbers each and every year.

Understanding The Numbers: Drowning Maps for 2019/2020


In addition to the drowning stats for September 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.