We present the results of a residence-based study of drownings among Sacramento County, California children and adolescents ages 0-19 years for the years 1974-84. Children ages 1-3 had the highest drowning rates. The majority of drownings in this group, and one-third of all drownings in the study, occurred in residential swimming pools. Males ages 15-19 had a high drowning rate as well; at least 38 per cent of drownings in that age group were alcohol-associated. The implications for preventive efforts are discussed.