In Japan, the leading cause of death for children over 1 year old is injury, and for children aged 0-14, drowning is the second leading cause of death. The purpose of the present study was to describe the epidemiological factors of drownings and near-drowning among Japanese children and to ascertain whether there are characteristic patterns for different age groups. Epidemiologic data was obtained by questionnaire. A total of 604 cases of submersion injuries were reported from 49 hospitals located in 22 Japanese prefectures. In the present paper, victims of drowning (n = 134) and near-drowning with permanent severe brain damage (n = 51) and those of near-drowning with intact survival or mild impairment (n = 419) were investigated. Preschool-aged children, especially toddlers, are at the greatest risk of drowning and near-drowning, and for children over 2 years of age, boys have three times greater risk than girls. The bathtub is the most common place of submersion injuries in Japan, especially for children under 4 years of age. The important risk factors for the victims who died or were severely impaired were associated with duration of submersion and necessity of emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation on arrival at hospital.