Drownings: alarming figures that must be known and fought

25 November 2019

Accidental drownings: alarming figures that must be known and fought

Accidental drownings occur at all ages and in all locations. They cause nearly 1000 deaths each year in France. And it is the 1st cause of death by accident of everyday life for people under 25 years old.

Accidental drownings on the rise

Continued monitoring, especially of the smaller ones. And learning swimming and survival reflexes is essential to fend off the scary statistics around drowning.

Compared to the summer of 2015, the number of accidental drownings among 0-6 year olds increased by 96% overall and by 132% for private family pools (from 13 to 25 cases). 44% of accidental drownings occurred in the sea and 31% in swimming pools of all types, 22% in ponds, lakes and rivers and 4% in other places (baths, ponds, etc.)

As of July 2019, 60 drowning deaths have been recorded in France. This is an alarming figure because it has been increasing for the last 4 years. This increase in accidents is seen especially in those under 13 years of age (338 drownings in 2015 versus 600 in 2018).

The mastery of swimming remains very unequal according to age and social category:

nearly 1 in 6 French people say they cannot swim.

There are programs for all ages: from familiarization with water with the baby swimmers, to the anti-drowning course to learn survival reflexes from 3 years old with the AUTO-RESCUE, through the Learning, the Improvement and the courses for adults beginners or aquaphobes.


Drownings have been going on for several years. Continuous monitoring and learning to swim remain among the best ways to curb these numbers.

S.A.F.E. the water safety prevention program, presented free of charge in schools and specialized associations.

Learn more to request a free animation:

Source: 2018 Drowning Survey by Santé Publique France

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