Unintentional drowning is a terrifying experience with an astonishing prevalence. New World Health Organization statistics indicate that drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death, accounting for 7% of all such deaths – 320,000 annually. What’s more, there are indications that this figure is underestimated. By analyzing the reasons why people lose their life to water, and focusing on improving standards in those areas, global authorities can help to minimize this figure.
The danger of watercraft
According to the CDC, two primary risk factors involved with drowning are an inability to swim and a lack of life jacket use. This is clearly not an issue in shallow water, and is rather associated with recreational craft usage. This could be a way to vastly reduce the amount of deaths in water, and is dependent on standards being implemented that seek to raise awareness of drowning risks on watercraft and ensure that all who embark take the necessary precautions. This will be a very constructive first step in addressing the wider problem.
A poverty gap
According to WHO statistics, low and middle income countries account for 90% of all drowning deaths. Conversely, developed countries such as the USA experience the majority of their deaths in the developed income category – generally, those taking leisure events. The likely cause of many people in low income countries losing their life to drowning stems from a need to undertake economic activity in poorly regulated environments. It is important that governments, internationally, who profit from cheaper labor, put pressure on for better standards and support this economically.
Better medical care
Improving medical care will help to save some lives in these countries, and it will also help to raise awareness of factors that can influence drowning. CNN note that conditions such as epilepsy and heart disease can create risk factors that are otherwise not present. Having a solid healthcare and support system in place to ensure people are aware of these risks and can respond accordingly is going to be important in ensuring that all people have equal access to safe swimming and a reduced risk of drowning.
Bringing these factors together can create real change across the world. Drowning is an avoidable death in the majority of cases, and much can be done to stop it impacting families globally. As always, the power lies in the hands of lawmakers.
This could be a way to vastly reduce the amount of deaths in water, and is dependent on standards being implemented that seek to raise awareness of drowning risks on watercraft and ensure that all who embark take the necessary precautions. This will be a very constructive first step in addressing the wider problem.