Injury Research and Policy Diving Research :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Diving Safety

The majority of diving injuries occur in the summer months. Recreational swimming and diving are the most common physical activities among children. More than 6,500 children and adolescents are treated for diving-related injuries annually. The leading cause of youth diving injuries is collision with the diving board or platform.

Common Diving Injuries

  • Lacerations and soft tissue injuries

  • Strains and sprains

  • Fractures

Who Is at Risk?

Data are from: Diving Related Injuries in Children < 20 Years Old Treated in Emergency Departments in the United States: 1990-2006, Pediatrics, 122(2) August 2008

  • Patients ages 10- to 14-years-old composed the largest group of injured divers (36 percent).

  • Injuries to the head and/or neck (38 percent) and face (22 percent) were the most common.

  • The most frequent diagnoses were lacerations (34 percent) and soft tissue injuries (24 percent).

  • Males have double the odds of head and/or neck injury.

  • Collision with a diving board or platform was the leading cause of injuries (44 percent).

  • The odds of injury caused by contact with the diving board dramatically increased if the child was performing a flip, handstand, or backward dive.

Prevention Tips

  • Stretching and strengthening can prevent shoulder injuries for competitive divers.

  • Supervise or have lifeguard present.

  • Provide visible depth indicators around pool.

  • Soften the bottom of pools.

  • Remove obstacles from lakes, rivers, and oceans.

  • Educate children about diving board safety.

  • Educate children on proper diving techniques, especially when attempting new and unusual dives.

  • Educate children to prevent them from jumping into shallow or cloudy pool water.

Additional Diving Information

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000