National Drowning Prevention Alliance
     “Lifesaver of the Year” Award 2012 & 2020
        “Community Lifesaver” Award 2016 & 2018

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The Stigma of Drowning


Unfortunately when a drowning happens, often time’s people unknowingly and unfairly support the Stigma of Drowning.

The Stigma of Drowning is the societal view of drowning where the overall public opinion is to:

  1. Blame the victim
  2. Blame the parents or caregivers
  3. Blame it on Darwinism


Unfortunately this societal point of view of drowning gives the public the false sense of security that “It can’t happen to me” and “It can’t happen to me because I wouldn’t be that stupid,” and “You can’t fix stupid” and “only stupid drown”…

Now we are not saying that we agree with this stigma at all.  We are just saying that it often exists that people believe that drowning victims ‘should have known better.’

But… if most people do not know that drowning is a leading cause of accidental death and if most people do not have the basic swimming skills to save their own lives in a drowning accident, then how could they have possibly known better and survived? So it is grossly unfair to support this stigma.

Drowning is:

  • The leading cause of accidental death for children 1-4.
  • The second leading cause of accidental death for children 1-14, second only to car accidents.
  • The fifth leading cause of accidental death in the United States.


If we want to see a reduction in the drowning statistics, we also have to confront and educate people about the Stigma of Drowning.

Dave Benjamin, Executive Director

Cruel online posts known as RIP trolling add to family’s grief – RIP trolls on Facebook mock memorial page to teen who drowned in Lake Michigan

Jerry Davich, Post-Tribune Writer, “Don’t be too quick to blame parents in drownings”