Alarming new statistics reveal drowning risk triples when kids turn one

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

Drowning is the number one cause of death in one-year-olds, with new Australian statistics just in ahead of summer naming 'lack of adult supervision' in the form of phone distraction as a main contributor.

The risk of drowning triples in newly-mobile toddlers, with 41 per cent of drowning deaths in children under five occurring around their first birthday, according to a new study by Royal Life Saving Society Australia.

"Research figures show that, over the past 17 years, 496 children aged 0 to four years drowned. Of these, 202 (41 per cent) children aged one year drowned – within the context of an entire lifespan, from 0 to 100 years, no other age is at greater risk of drowning."

Data from Royal Life Saving - Australia revealed the horrifying statistics around child drowning deaths in Australia.

The majority of deaths - 59 per cent - occurred in backyard swimming pools with 44 per cent of the drownings taking place in the summer months.

"Accidental falls" into water was identified as the cause of 88 per cent of drownings in one-year-olds, with the majority occurring due to the "...lack of active adult supervision."

Justin Scarr - Royal Life Saving Society's CEO - said in a statement that distraction can be a killer, especially when it comes to our phones.

"Distractions are dangerous – whether it is taking a phone call, browsing social media or ducking inside to grab something – we ask parents and carers to always Keep Watch."

"Drowning deaths in young children are wholly preventable," he stressed, adding that, "... it is essential that people install pool fences and check pool gates regularly to make sure they are not faulty or kept propped open."


Royal Life Saving Australia's Keep Watch campaign aims to increase public awareness around the dangers of water and young children. In its 25th year, it recommends the following safety tips.

Safety tips to keep children safe around water

  • Actively supervise children around water
  • Restrict children's access to water
  • Teach children water safety skills
  • Learn how to resuscitate
Photo: Royal Lifesaving Society Australia

Photo: Royal Lifesaving Society Australia