Intended for healthcare professionals


Childhood drowning is a global concern

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 04 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1049

Prevention needs a multifaceted approach

  1. Ruth A Brenner (BrennerR@NIH.GOV), investigator, epidemiology branch
  1. Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

    Papers p 1070

    Drowning is a significant cause of childhood death in many parts of the world. It is estimated that in 1998 almost half a million deaths worldwide were caused by drowning, 57% of which were among children aged up to 14 years.1 A recent Unicef report found that, in 26 of the world's richest nations, injuries were the leading cause of death among children. Drowning was the second leading cause of injury related death, exceeded only by deaths due to road traffic crashes.2 Drowning is also unique in that case fatality rates are as high as 50% and medical care makes little difference in outcomes for victims brought to the emergency department without spontaneous respiration.

    The study by Sibert et al in this week's journal (p 1070) identified a significant decline in the incidence of childhood drowning in the United Kingdom between 1988-89 and 1998-99.3 A strength of the study was the use …

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