It’s time to track the Drowning Stats for September 2020. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks like we’ve just about broken even with the drowning stats for September 2019.

Today, let’s take a look at the breakdown for this month’s detailed numbers and maps. With some careful examination, these 11 years of drowning statistics and tracking can provide valuable insight about swimming safety. We should also be able to find some key areas where safety education is lacking. This can only help to strengthen our awareness of how to keep safe.

U.S. Drowning Stats for September 2020

On the first day of every month, we share these U.S. drowning stats. These figures and maps are collected and provided by Total Aquatic Programming, which we’ll highlight later in this article.

These stats 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. Each month, over 15 separate data items are tracked for every drowning that occurs. These including:

  • Date
  • State-City-County
  • age and sex of the victim
  • ethnicity, if recorded
  • body of water
  • and several other circumstance that can help to provide some guidance in the prevention of drowning.

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 September 2020

Sept 2020 Stats

For the month of September 2020, we’ve seen some increases and decreases across many categories. Ultimately, the total number of drownings is exactly the same as it was last year: 147. However, there were significantly less drownings for both children aged four and under and children aged 12 and under. Perhaps parents are being a bit more careful when it comes to pool safety around public pools and active supervision.

Sept 2020 Chart

On the downside, there’s been an increase in the number of incidents with teens and adults. Now while it is difficult to completely blame an increase on one particular cause, there is a chance that victims of these ages have been taking more risks. While it is true that the CDC says it is safe to swim during the COVID-19 pandemic, resistance to social distancing guidelines have lead to some people taking more unnecessary risks than usual.

Teens in particular tend to be awfully brazen when it comes to water safety. They may believe that they are indestructible, which can put them in harm’s way. To learn more, read our full blog post about Teen Swimming Safety.

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.