Drowning: A Serious Public Health Issue


is a serious public health problem. Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. There are an estimated 236 000 annual drowning deaths worldwide. More children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects. 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.

Drowning can happen in seconds and is often silent. It can happen to anyone, any time there is access to water.


Children ages 1–4 have the highest drowning rates. Most drownings in children 1–4 happen in swimming pools. Drowning can happen anytime, including when children are not expected to be near water, such as when they gain unsupervised access to pools. Fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death behind motor vehicle crashes for children ages 1–14.


Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male. Many factors might contribute to higher rates of drowning among males, including increased exposure to water, risk-taking behaviors, and alcohol use.

In many countries, drowning is one of the main causes of preventable death for children under 12 years old. In the Punjab, Pakistan in 2020, 1488 people died from drowning. In Asia suffocation and drowning were the leading causes of preventable death for children under five years of age; a 2008 report by UNICEF found that in Bangladesh, for instance, 46 children drown each day.

There are many organizations which categorised drowning into five different types: near drowning, dry drowning, freshwater drowning, salt water drowning and secondary drowning. But there is consensus in World Health Organization (WHO) that such terms should no longer be used.


It is estimated that more than 85% of drownings could be prevented by supervision, training in water skills, technology, and public education. The WHO recommends training the general public in first-aid for the drowned, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and to behave safely when in the water. Your first aid and CPR skills could save someone’s life in the time it takes for paramedics to arrive. Many organizations like First Aid to Save a Life offer first aid and CPR training courses, both online (blended) and in-person.

BE ALERT when near the water resource and prepare yourself to learn how to stay safe and BE A LIFESAVER.


About Faisal Javed Mir

Faisal Javed Mir is Occupational Health and Safety Professional, having 15+ years of profound experience in training and consultancy. He has knowledge, skills, experience, tools, proven history and confidence to deliver what is required by the valued clients. He is teaching First Aid since 2006 and certified by MEDIC First Aid International of United States for many first aid certification programs. He is the only Instructor-Trainer by MEDIC First Aid and American Health and Safety Institute (ASHI) in Pakistan.
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