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Drowning Facts




Key facts

• Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.

• There are an estimated 360 000 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.

• low- and middle-income countries account for over 90% of unintentional drowning deaths;

• over half 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 15-20 times higher than those seen in Germany or the United Kingdom, respectively.

• Drowning is one of the top 5 causes of death for people aged 1–14 years for 48 of 85 countries with data meeting inclusion criteria (1).

• Australia: drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1–3 years.

• Bangladesh: drowning accounts for 43% of all deaths in children aged 1–4 years.

• China: drowning is the leading cause of injury death in children aged 1–14 years.

• United States of America: drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1–14 years.

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