In 2019, approximately 236,000 people around the world died from drowning, accounting for 7% of accidental deaths.
Drowning Deaths: A Global Problem
Drowning is a worldwide health problem. In 2019, about 8% of global mortality rates were attributed to drowning deaths, making drowning the 3rd leading cause of unintentional deaths. Accident rates show that people with easy access to water, males, and children have the highest risks for drowning deaths.
Drowning Risks Factors
Children under age 14 account for 1 in 5 drowning deaths. For every child that drowns, 5 more are treated for nonfatal submersion injuries each year. Globally, children ages 1-4 years have the highest drowning rates, followed by children ages 5–9 years. Most drowning deaths for children seen by personal injury lawyers in Chicago are attributed to a lack of adult supervision.
Males are twice as likely to die from drowning than females. They are also more likely to suffer non-fatal drowning injuries. Studies link higher drowning rates in males, especially teens and young adults, to risky behaviors while on the water such as alcohol and/or drug use; speeding in boats and jet skis; diving in unsafe areas; and lack of safety gear.
Access to Water
Both adults and children with easy access to water sources have higher risks for drowning deaths. Lawyers in Chicago witness more drowning deaths when people have access to open water sources including public and private swimming pools, Chicago area lakes and beaches, and wooded areas with ponds. Chicago workers employed in commercial fishing industries and water-related jobs are also at a higher risk of drowning.
Flooding that results from natural disasters, like hurricanes and tsunamis, accounts for 75% of drowning deaths worldwide. Flood-prone regions such as Bangladesh, Bahrain, Monaco, the Netherlands, and the Philippines have high death rates from drowning. These global regions experience many floods due to low elevations just above sea level. In Bahrain, 24% of the population lives just 5m above sea level, while 49% of the Dutch population lives in low-lying urban areas.
While it’s impossible to prevent natural disasters, it is possible to prevent the damages they cause. Many flood-prone areas have established measures to prevent flooding and drowning deaths by building dikes and sea walls and moving people to higher grounds. Drowning deaths in pools, lakes, and water-related jobs are much easier to prevent with the use of proper safety equipment and adequate supervision around water.