Background Each year in France, unintentional drownings are responsible for about 1,000 deaths and are the first cause of mortality by home and leisure injuries among persons less than 25. For most of them, they are avoidable. Since 2002, a national drowning survey is regularly conducted to record every drowning leading to an intervention from emergency services followed by a hospital care or a death in France.
Aims It aims to describe drownings characteristics and circumstances for prevention purposes.
Methods The 2021 edition of the survey was based on a questionnaire completed by emergency services on victims and specific circumstances of drownings occurring from June to September in France.
Results In 2021, we recorded 1,480 unintentional drownings with 27% of deadly drownings. Men drowned twice as much as women. Children represented 22% of drownings and 6% of fatal ones vs respectively 26% and 41% among the elderly. Globally, 47% of drownings occurred in the sea, 26% in swimming pools, 23% in rivers and lakes and 4% in other places with respectively 44%, 15%, 39% and 2% among fatal drownings.
Conclusion This survey identified the most at risk situations that could lead to unintentional drownings. If young persons drown more frequently, the elderly die more frequently from a drowning. These results, that do not have any equivalent in other countries in terms of content and longevity, are useful to implement prevention policies according to population groups.
Learning Outcomes Provide regular comprehensive data on unintentional drownings in France for prevention campaigns
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