Summer swimming pool season brings the risk of dangerous safety scenarios. This summer, a 79-year old Mattituck man was found unresponsive in a backyard pool on July 29 and was later pronounced dead. Less than a week later, on Aug. 3, a 6-year old girl was rescued from the bottom of a Brookhaven Town pool in Centereach. According to data collected by Newsday from 1999 to 2017, at least one person on Long Island has drowned in a swimming pool each year.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the leading risk factors for unintentional drowning include lack of swimming ability, lack of physical barriers to pools, lack of close supervision and alcohol use. Learn more about the drownings on Long Island between 1999 and 2017 here:
Victims by community
Swimming pool drownings have occurred across Long Island with 24 deaths in Nassau County and 65 in Suffolk between 1999 and 2017. The map below shows how many drownings have occurred in each community over time (and not the specific location). Drag the map to see the East End.
Victims by age
On Long Island, since 1999, 31 of 89 drowning victims were between 1 and 4 years old, approximately 35 percent. According to the CDC, children ages 1 to 4 have the highest rate of drowning nationally. The CDC says research shows that participation in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning for children in that age group. Mouse over or select for details.
Victims by year
Each year since 1999 there has been at least one swimming pool drowning on Long Island. The chart below shows how many drownings have occurred each year. Mouse over or select for details.
How to avoid becoming a statistic
Pool Safely, a national public education campaign launched by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, offers these tips to stay safe around swimming pools:
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water. Designate an adult whose sole task is to supervise children without distractions such as electronics or reading.
- Teach children how to swim. There may be free or reduced-cost options at your local YMCA, USA Swimming chapter or Parks and Recreation Department. Formal swimming instruction has been shown to reduce the likelihood of young children drowning.
- Teach children to stay away from drains. Children's hair, limbs, bathing suits or jewelry can get stuck in a drain or suction opening. Ensure all pools and spas have compliant drain covers and never enter a pool that has a loose, broken or missing drain cover.
- Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa. Teach children never to try to climb the barrier.
- Know how to perform CPR on children and adults. Bystanders are often the first to respond. Outcomes are improved for victims the faster CPR is performed.