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J Family Med Prim Care. 2017 Oct-Dec;6(4):844-847. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_349_16.

An epidemiological study of drowning survivors among school children.

Author information

Department of Family Medicine, MIMS Hospital, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.



Drowning is a major, but often neglected, public health problem. Drowning is the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries, after road traffic injuries. According to the World Health Organization, 0.7% of all deaths worldwide (>500,000 deaths) each year are due to unintentional drowning. In India, very little is known about the epidemiology of drowning. There is almost no awareness or protocols to prevent drowning.


The objective is to study the prevalence, risk factors, and types of drowning among school children in the Malabar region.

Materials and Methods:

A cross-sectional, population-based study by semistructured interview method was performed among 8433 school children of 5-15 years.

Statistical Methods:

The prevalence of drowning was calculated. Odds ratio was calculated and represented under 95% confidence interval. Risk factors were analyzed as frequency with percentage.

Results and Discussion:

The total study population was 8433 students, comprising 4795 boys (56.86%) and 3638 (43.13%) girls. A total of 342 (4.06%) students had a history of drowning. These survivors were further interviewed. The prevalence of drowning was much higher compared to figures reported in literature.


Contrary to the general perception, drowning is a common occurrence among children. Swimming skills have no role in the prevention of drowning. Public awareness regarding supervision of children and restricting unsupervised access of children to water bodies need to be emphasized.


Drowning survivors; Malabar region; swimming skills

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