2021 Drowning Survey Results: Prevention Still Essential

The number of drowning remains high in 2021

The triennial drowning survey aims to identify all accidental drowning and to explain their occurrence and the characteristics of the victims. It is based on information gathered by questionnaires from paramedics (especially firefighters, Samu-Smur). Drowning is considered if there is systematic rescue intervention followed by hospital treatment (outpatient to the emergency room, hospitalization) or death.

In the summer of 2021, 1,480 accidental drowning was recorded. This is a 10% reduction compared to 1,649 in the summer of 2018 and holds the record for all drowning surveys. Death rates were similar in 2021 (27%) and 2018 (25%). This decrease in the total number of accidental drowns can be explained, in particular, by climatic conditions (temperature, sunlight) that are less suitable for swimming in most of the metropolitan areas during the summer of 2021.

These accidental drownings are associated with all places and all ages. In 2021, more among young and old people, 22% of accidental drowning of children under 6 years old and 26% of people over 65 years old. The rate of drowning and subsequent deaths was higher in people over the age of 65, 41% compared to 6% in children under the age of 6.

As for where drowning occurred, 47% of accidental drowning occurred at sea, 26% in pools of all types, 23% in waterways or bodies of water, and 4% elsewhere (such as bathtubs and basins). Did. Death rates were higher in water bodies (49%) and waterways (41%), compared to 25% in the sea, 15% in pools of all types, and 14% elsewhere. .. Drowning in the swimming pool was more concerned about children under the age of 6, and drowning at the sea was more concerned about children over the age of 65.

However, it is important to emphasize that many of these drownings occurred in the context of lifting restrictions deployed to manage the COVID-19 epidemic. In this context, these drownings may be partly associated with poor assessment of physical fitness by swimmers, or poor health at the end of long-term confinement and reduced physical activity. .. Therefore, it is important to recall drowning prevention measures for all age groups, from the youngest to the oldest, and emphasize the importance of considering each person’s body shape and health.

To gradually and safely resume swimming, especially after periods of decline or lack of physical activity:

  • Consider your fitness
  • Do not swim if you experience physical illness (malaise, health problems, chills, body aches, etc.).
  • Adjust your swimming intensity to your abilities and do not overestimate your swimming level. Focus on sprints when resuming swimming after a break. Before you go swimming, make sure your physical condition allows you to return.Remember that swimming in the natural environment (sea, lake, river) is more difficult and tiring than the swimming pool
  • Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor to accompany you to resume swimming

At all ages, bathing carries risks. You can follow the simple steps to take a safe bath.

For small children:

Children's drowning prevention poster
  • Teach your kids to swim as soon as possible and get used to the fun of aquatic life from an early age
  • Always supervise the children, stay close when playing at the water’s edge and take a bath together when underwater
  • Each child must be constantly and closely supervised by one adult responsible for them during swimming time.
  • Be especially careful when swimming in “ground” (non-buried) pools without safety devices

For adults:

Swim safe poster
  • It’s never too late to start or learn to swim again
  • In particular, consider the bathing environment such as rivers, lakes and the sea, check the weather conditions, and respect safety precautions, no bathing, and bathing in the monitored area indicated by the bathing flag.[1]Where rescue team intervention is faster.
  • Tell your loved one before swimming
  • Gradually enter the water, especially after prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Do not consume alcohol before swimming

The French Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Sports, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Ministry of Ecosystem Transition and the Ministry of Regional Cohesion offer medical professionals and the general public to adopt actions to acquire. We provide preventive tools. Practicing aquatic comfort, swimming, and completely safe nautical activities. These prevention tools are available here. Prevention campaigns are launched during the summer, especially on social networks, to inform the public about the risk of accidental drowning and raise awareness.