All drownings of people under 15 years of age in Tasmania from 1981 to 1993 were identified from the Tasmanian coroner's case files. Age- and sex-specific mortality rates were calculated and found to be similar to Australian drowning mortality rates. An exception was the lower drowning rate for Tasmanian females aged 0 to 4 years. Only 9 per cent of drowning deaths were caused by immersion in a swimming pool, 32 per cent of deaths occurred in dams and ponds and 21 per cent occurred in a river. Most drownings (88 per cent) associated with dams, ponds, swimming pools and baths were in the 0-to-4-year age group. Compared with Australia as a whole, toddlers drowning in swimming pools is uncommon in Tasmania; however, there are relatively more drownings in dams and ponds. Strategies for the prevention of drowning in childhood in Tasmania should consider the hazards associated with rural living.