Monday, September 13, 2010


According to the WHO, every year 388,000 people drown in the world, including 175,000 children. Drowning outcomes mean those deaths caused by respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid, be it in the sea, in a river, in a swimming-pool or any other natural or artificial pool. As usual for high figures when counting people, money or stars, it is difficult to really understand what it stands for and it is necessary to compare it with other figures to have a clear idea of its magnitude. Let’s see an example: every year, the number of people drowned doubles the number of casualties in war (172,000 people).
In most countries including Spain, drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death and the first in children under 5 years of age. For the moment, car accidents are still the first cause of mortality: 2,560 people were dead in road accidents in Spain in 2008, whereas 2,052 drowned.  However, road safety campaigns are effective and statistics can be different: in 2003, the number of people dead in road accidents (5,478) was five times greater than in 2008 in Spain. At this rate, we could get similar figures than in the Spanish region of Galicia, where drowning has become the first cause of mortality by accident.
In order to account for such dropping figures, it is said that car accidents can be prevented, whereas drowning cannot because it is a natural, unavoidable phenomenon. However, statistics reveal that this argument does not add up: any person living in low- or middle-income countries has six times more chances to drown than any other person living in a high-income nation. Maybe drowning is not so natural...

  1. World Health Organization (WHO) webpage:
  2. World Report on Child Injury Prevention 2008:
  3. World Health Report 2004:
  4. Spanish National Statistics Institute webpage:
  5. Article in the Spanish newspaper El Faro de Vigo about fatalities in Galicia (in Spanish):


    1. I disagree that drowning is a natural and unavoidable phenomenon. We can do a lot of things to avoid drowning like how you can prevent car accidents. Learning how to swim is already one form of avoiding being drowned.

    2. I like the post format as you create user engagement in the complete article. It seems round up of all published posts. Thanks for gauging the informative posts.
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