Drowning is one of the leading causes for unintentional injury death globally. So many of these unnecessary deaths could be prevented if proper preventative measures would be taken by both authorities and the public. On July 25th World Drowning Prevention Day the United Nations promotes increased awareness of global drowing accidents and their impacts to communities worldwide.
Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, according to WHO. Consequently, annually over 200,000 people die from drowning in different areas of the world. Risk groups include children, males and individuals with increased access to water.
Drowning is a scary way to die. It happens in the process of respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid. Drownings are also always tragic for the families and the communities.
Causes for these deaths vary a lot, especially among regions. Some drowning are linked to risky behavior, such as swimming alone and alcohol use. Others have to do with natural disasters, including floods. Asylum seekers are also dying every year for drowning as they are attempting to find safe space.
Many people, including fishermen, are dependent on working in water proximity for their living, which increases their risk for drowning, especially when proper equipment is not guaranteed.
Drowning in the Nordics
Most drownings in the world happen in WHO Western Pacific Region and WHO South-East Asia Region, but the Nordic countries have room to improve as well.
For example, over half of drowning accidents in Finland have happened due to intoxication and the person being under the influence alcohol. Most of the drowned people in Finland have also not worm a proper life jacket.
These types of drownings are highly preventable when proper behavior at the waters is applied.
According to WHO’s 2014 report , drownings in Finland and Iceland are proportionally the highest in the Nordic countries – In Iceland 2,5 and in Finland 2,4 per 100,000 people died from drowning.
This is a lot considering their fellow countries. According to the same report; per 100,000; 1,4 people died from drowning both in Sweden and Norway. The least drownings happened in Denmark where 1,2 people per 100,000 have been registered to have died from drowning.
So many could be prevented
All stakeholders in all nations are encouraged to improve their preparedness and measures to prevent drowning incidents.
Education is a crucial way to control accidental deaths from drowning. Basic swimming and water safety skills should be available to everyone. All citizens should have basic understanding of safe rescue and resuscitation that may be needed by bystanders at the beaches, for example.
Effective policies and legislation set by authorities are important for drowning prevention. In some areas with water in proximity, installing more barriers is a good way to control access to water. By enforcing safe boating, shipping and ferry regulations; drownings from water vehicle accidents can be prevented.
In the era of climate change, it is increasingly important to raise national preparedness to react to unexpected climate conditions. As floods become more common, countries should improve flood risk management to support vulnerable communities that will have increased risk to drown.
World Drowning Prevention Day on July 25th aims to raise concern for global drowning statists. It encourages public and authorities to react to improve their preventative measures so that drowning incidents can be reduced. With proper plans and action in place; many tragic, early and unnecessary deaths from drowning can be prevented all over the world.