Risk Factors
Various environmental, personal and medical factors affect the risk of drowning. These, coupled with poor decision making and risk-taking behaviour, increases a person's risk of drowning. Key preventive measures can help to keep everyone safe.
Alcohol and Water Safety
Alcohol and water don't mix. Alcohol consumption can significantly increase the risk of drowning. Alcohol-related drowning deaths occur across all ages and environments, among men and women, in urban and regional areas.
Drugs and Drowning
Like alcohol, medication and illegal drugs can both increase the risk of drowning by causing drowsiness, impacting alertness and impairing judgement and the perception of risk.
Floodwaters are an unknown entity. Even if they appear relatively shallow, it is easy to underestimate the force of the water. It only takes a few centimetres of water to shift and float a full-size car.
Epilepsy and Drowning
People with epilepsy need to take additional precautions to prevent drowning, and must follow their doctor's advice on whether it is safe to swim and participate in aquatic activities.
Autism Spectrum Disorder and Drowning
People with autism are at increased risk of drowning. They therefore need to take additional precautions to prevent drowning. In particular, they should never swim alone and should be supervised at all times.
Risks of Cold Water
Cold water increases the risk of drowning, can cause hypothermia, and can impact even the most capable swimmers.
Hypoxic Blackout
Breathholding or purposeful hyperventilation before going underwater is dangerous. It can result in hypoxic or ‘shallow water' blackout caused by a loss of consciousness while underwater due to a lack of oxygen, which can lead to drowning.
Multiple Fatality Events
Multiple fatality events are defined as drowning events where two or more people died in the same incident. When multiple people lose their lives at one time, this has long-lasting impacts on families, communities, and rescue personnel.