- Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury related deaths.
- There are an estimated 388 000 annual drowning deaths worldwide.
- Global estimates may significantly underestimate the actual public health problem related to drowning.
- Children, males and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk of drowning.
Scope of the problem
In 2004, an estimated 388 000 people died from drowning, making drowning a major public health problem worldwide. Injuries account for nearly 10% of total global mortality. Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.
The global burden and death from drowning is found in all economies and regions, however:
- low- and middle-income countries account for 96% of unintentional drowning deaths;
- over 60% of the world’s drowning occurs in the WHO Western Pacific Region and WHO South-East Asia Region;
- drowning death rates are highest in the WHO African Region, and are more than eight times higher than in Australia or the United States of America (USA);
- China and India have particularly high drowning mortality rates and together contribute 43% of the world’s drowning deaths and 41% of the total global DALYs1 (disability-adjusted life years) lost related to drowning
This information is from the November 2010 Factsheet by the World Health Organization