Swimming pool drownings among US residents aged 5-24 years: Understanding racial/ethnic disparities

Gitanjali Saluja, Ruth A. Brenner, Ann C. Trumble, Gordon S. Smith, Tom Schroeder, Christopher Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objective. We examined circumstances surrounding swimming pool drownings among US residents aged 5 to 24 years to understand why Black males and other racial/ethnic groups have high drowning rates. Methods. We obtained data about drowning deaths in the United States (1995-1998) from death certificates, medical examiner reports, and newspaper clippings collected by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Results. During the study period, 678 US residents aged 5 to 24 years drowned in pools. Seventy-five percent were male, 47% were Black, 33% were White, and 12% were Hispanic. Drowning rates were highest among Black males, and this increased risk persisted after we controlled for income. The majority of Black victims (51%) drowned in public pools, the majority of White victims (55%) drowned in residential pools, and the majority of Hispanic victims (35%) drowned in neighborhood pools (e.g., an apartment complex pool). Foreign-born males also had an increased risk for drowning compared with American-born males. Conclusions. Targeted interventions are needed to reduce the incidence of swimming pool drownings across racial/ethnic groups, particularly adult supervision at public pools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)728-733
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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