I was going to put this in the thread about fencing but I didn't want to hijack the thread.
Most Kids Who Drowned Were Supervised, Study Finds
June 4, 2004
The kids are giggling away as they splash each other, practice holding their breath, and bob in and out of the water in a game of Marco Polo, while you take a lap, get a little sun, or chat nearby with some fellow parents over a cool drink. Everything seems OK - perfectly safe. But the fact is that most drowning accidents happen right under the noses of adults who think children are being adequately supervised.
According to a recent study by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, nearly 90% of drowning deaths in children between the ages of 1 and 14 happened under the supervision of another person, usually a family member. (The study defined supervision as "being in the care of another individual, not necessarily in their direct line of sight.")
The second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death (after car accidents) for children 14 and younger, drowning claims the lives of more than 900 kids in the United States every year. Little ones ages 4 and under account for 80% of home drownings, most often in swimming pools and bathtubs (the drowning rate for children ages 4 and under is two to three times greater than other age group).
Although even the most skilled child swimmer can drown, the SAFE KIDS study found that 55% of parents think it's OK to let a child swim unsupervised in some circumstances. And many parents who say they do supervise their children when swimming say they're doing other things as well: talking to others (38%), reading (18%), eating (17%), and talking on the phone (11%).
SAFE KIDS' study also discovered that parents aren't:
properly fencing pools - Sixty-one percent of parents who own a pool or spa said they don't have the recommended four-sided isolation fencing that completely separates the pool area from the house and the rest of the property; and 43% said they have no self-closing or self-latching gate.
requiring kids to use Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices, or PFDs - Many tweens - ages 8 to 12 - said they never wear a life jacket when riding on a personal watercraft (50%) participating in water sports (37%), or on a boat (16%). And one in five parents mistakenly think air-filled water wings can protect their child from drowning.
teaching children how to swim - Almost 75% of drowning victims studied by SAFE KIDS didn't know how to swim. And 37% of parents surveyed said their children have never taken swimming lessons, even though most parents said they know that kids should have their first lesson with a certified instructor by age 8.
Although it might seem like drowning occurs only when children are left unattended, the majority of kids who drowned in swimming pools were last seen in the home, had been in the care of one or both parents, and were out of sight for less than 5 minutes, according to SAFE KIDS.
And if you think you'd recognize when your child is drowning by the sounds and motions of distress he or she would make, think again. Drowning often happens quickly and quietly - there's little noise to alert parents that the child is in danger. Every second can mean the difference between life and death - loss of consciousness happens within 2 minutes after the child goes under and irreversible brain damage occurs 4 to 6 minutes after submersion, in most cases.
Young children are especially vulnerable - they can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. That means drowning can happen where you'd least expect it - the sink, the toilet bowl, fountains, buckets, pet bowls, birdbaths, wading pools, or small bodies of standing water around your home, such as ditches filled with rainwater.
Cut/paste from: http://kidshealth.org/research/drown.html