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Social inequality in accidental drowning in Denmark 2001–2006
  1. H Müller,
  2. B Laursen
  1. Correspondence National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, ster Farimagsgade 5A, 2nd floor 1353 Copenhagen K. Denmark 1353, Denmark


Background Drowning remains the second most frequent injury related cause of death worldwide. Research on socio-economic disparities in the risk of injuries has established evidence of an association between lower social groups and higher injury risk. However, the association varies according to type of injury, level of analyses, and setting. This study is the first, to our knowledge, to explore the association between SES and accidental drowning.

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the social profile of victims of drowning in Denmark and identify groups at particular high risk of drowning.

Methods All death certificates related to drowning were reviewed and coded a new for 2001–2006. This information was linked to social data of the deceased.

Results We found a strong association between lower social groups and higher injury risk, especially in population groups outside the labour marked. The incidence rates per 100 000 were as follows: pensioners (1.44), persons receiving social disability pension (3.20), and other receiving social benefits 6.38. For victims employed at the time of death employees at high/medium skill level had the lowest risk (0.34), followed by self-employed (0.77), and employees at basic or unspecified level (0.87). Unemployed (0.34) and students (0.50) had some of the lowest rates. Most drowning incidents occurred in or around harbours (28%), during leisure boating (18%) and bathing from beaches or in public pools (17%).

Conclusion The marked social inequality in drowning death in Denmark warrants targeted interventions and information to groups at risk.

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