Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. There are an estimated 3,72,000 annual drowning deaths worldwide. Children, males and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk of drowning. Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid; outcomes are classified as death, morbidity and no morbidity.
Males are especially at risk of drowning, with twice the overall mortality rate of females. Studies suggest that the higher drowning rates among males are due to increased exposure to water and riskier behavior such as swimming alone, drinking alcohol before swimming alone and boating. Drowning accounts for 75% of deaths in flood disasters.
There are many actions to prevent drowning. Installing barriers (e.g. covering wells, using doorway barriers and playpens, fencing swimming pools etc.) to control access to water hazards. Community-based, supervised child care for pre-school children can reduce drowning risk. Teaching school-age children basic swimming, water safety and safe rescue skills is another approach. Setting and enforcing safe boating, shipping and ferry regulations is an important part of improving safety on the water and preventing drowning. Building resilience to flooding and managing flood risks through better disaster preparedness planning, land use planning, and early warning systems can prevent drowning during flood disasters.