Facts & Figures

Non-Fatal Drowning

Non fatal Drowning

There are three outcomes of a drowning: death, morbidity (injury), and no morbidity. If the person does not die from the drowning, then it is a non-fatal drowning with or without morbidity (injury).  A person who does not die from a drowning incident and survives may experience either: no complications or, brain or other organ damage ranging from mild to severe. This is also known as hypoxic brain injury (brain damage due to lack of oxygen).

Between 2002/03 and 2014/15, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows there were an average of 474 people per year admitted to hospital following a non-fatal drowning, compared to an average of 285 fatal drownings recorded for the same period. Children aged 0-4 years are at highest risk for both fatal and non-fatal drownings, and make up the largest proportion of hospitalisations compared to all other age groups. Swimming pools (including backyard and public pools) record the largest number of non-fatal drownings, especially among young children. Teenagers and adults are more likely to get into difficulty in natural bodies of water such as in rivers, lakes and at beaches.

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