Drownings of children on the rise (Santé Publique France survey): how to avoid them?

26 November 2019

Childhood Drownings: NOYADES Survey Reports Increase in Childhood Drownings

Every summer, various surveys report an increase in drownings in France. But after the observation, how to stop the rise? What solutions? Learning to swim and a drowning awareness campaign seem to be the two most serious avenues for the moment.

Survey results (2018 ) by Santé Publique France show that child drownings are on the rise.

“Drowning prevention strategies must be comprehensive. In 2018, children under the age of 6 actually accounted for 28% of accidental drownings and 9% of deaths. 44% of accidental drownings occurred at sea. 31% in pools of all types. 22% in rivers or lakes and 4% in other places (baths, ponds, etc.)” reports the survey.

“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.”

Between the summers of 2015 and 2018, family private pool drowning deaths in children under 6 years old increased from 13 to 25 cases. “It is necessary to know the characteristics and the circumstances in order to be able to set up prevention actions as close as possible to the populations and the places“The report states.

Drowning of children in private pools

Survey after survey (this is the 8th edition – ed. note), the results indicate that accidental drowning concerns all places and all ages, with some specificities. Indeed, Drownings in swimming pools are more likely to occur in young children. While Drownings in waterways and bodies of water are more likely to occur among young adults. And drownings in the sea are more common among older people.

And to conclude: “Drownings are therefore mostly preventable. […] Nearly one in six French people (16%) say they cannot swim. This proportion increases with age. […] It is therefore important to teach children to swim as early as possible, or at least to get them used to the aquatic environment. Even if these conditions alone cannot prevent drowning in children.”

Thus, prevention inevitably involves raising awareness of the risks from an early age. But also by learning to swim.

Anti-drowning prevention in schools: Swim Stars begins its tour of France

Swim Stars is a swim school that has been teaching classes tailored to children as young as 3 years old since 2016. The objective is to teach them survival reflexes in case of a fall in the water. To go further, Swim Stars has taken the initiative to develop

a prevention program to be distributed free of charge in schools.

S.A.F.E. is being deployed in all schools in France.

drowning prevention for children

Logo of the anti-drowning prevention program to fight against child drowning

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