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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

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Drowning Prevention

Contact the Violence and Injury Prevention Section

  •  850-245-4455
  •  

    Mailing Address

    Violence and Injury Prevention Section 

    4052 Bald Cypress Way 

    Bin A13 

    Tallahassee, FL 32399 

Overview


Drowning is preventable. With the many pools, waterways, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water in Florida, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, water safety is key in preventing drownings for visitors and residents alike. According to the CDC, Florida ranked 6th in the U.S. for unintentional drowning deaths with age-adjusted rate of 1.67 per 100,000 population behind Hawaii (3.02), Alaska (2.52), Mississippi (2.07), Montana (1.94), and Louisiana (1.75) for all ages in 2019.

From 2017 to 2019 combined, Florida was ranked the highest in the U.S. for unintentional drowning death rate among children ages 1 to 4 years (6.29 per 100,000 population). Florida had the highest unintentional drowning death rate of 3.28 per 100,000 population among children 0 to 9 years of age compared to other states. Annually there are enough children under the age of 5 lost to drowning (67 in 2017, 74 in 2018 and 50 in 2019) to fill three or four preschool classrooms. (Florida CHARTS)

In addition, Florida was ranked 5th in the U.S. for unintentional drowning death rate (1.65 per 100,000 population) among children ages 0 to 17 years of age followed by Mississippi (3.01), Alabama (2.39), Arkansas (1.71), and Kentucky (1.70) in 2019. During the same year, for adults ages 18+ years of age, Florida was ranked 4th in the U.S. for unintentional drowning death rate (1.84 per 100,000 population) behind Hawaii (3.67), Alaska (2.72), and Montana (2.26). (Current national injury data)

For additional injury prevention data, please see the Florida Injury Surveillance Data System page.

WaterSmartFL—Water Safety is Everyone's Responsibility

The “Water Safety Is Everyone’s Responsibility” initiative works to educate parents, caregivers and communities about drowning risks and prevention strategies along with how to be safe in and around the water. The campaign identifies layers of protection to increase water safety and reduce drownings: supervision, barriers, and preparedness. More information is available at www.watersmartfl.com.


Explore WaterSmartFL to learn the steps you can take to be water safe and protect Florida's children, residents and visitors. Downloadable materials and information about state partners are also available on the website.