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Epidemiology of unintentional drowning and near-drowning in Denmark in 1995
  1. Peter Lindholm1,
  2. Jens Steensberg2
  1. 1Odense University Hospital, Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark
  2. 2Regional Public Health Office, Hillerød
  1. Correspondence and reprint requests to:
 Peter Lindholm


Objectives—To determine the pattern of accidental drowning and near-drowning in Denmark.

Design—Prospective study of all cases of accidental drowning and near-drowning during one year.

Setting—Denmark, 1995.

Subjects—All patients brought to Danish hospitals after incidents of unintentional near-drowning or cooling in water and all fatal cases.

Main outcome measures—Number of near-drowned patients reported prospectively by hospital departments supplemented by cases reported after requests based on the National Patient Register. Number of drownings reported by public health medical officers (as medical examiners), institutes of forensic medicine, and hospitals.

Results—Sixty three (38%) of 167 unintentionally immersed persons died: eight (17%) of 47 children and 55 (46%) of 120 adults. The annual incidence of serious immersion events in children leading to hospital contact was 5.2/100 000; mortality was 0.7/100 000. For adult males the annual incidence of serious unintentional immersions was 4.3/100 000 and for females 1.2/100 000. For foreigners the risk was three to four times higher than for Danes.

Conclusions—More attention should be paid to the risk of drowning in children, adult males, and foreigners.

  • drowning
  • near-drowning
  • epidemiology

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