13 year National Study of Non-Fatal Drowning in Australia


The latest research by Royal Life Saving - Australia shows that 6,158 people were hospitalised in Australia as a result of a non-fatal drowning incident between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2015.

The landmark report, titled “A 13 year national study of non-fatal drowning in Australia: Data challenges, hidden impacts and social costs”, identified that non-fatal drowning incidents have increased by 42% since 2002 despite drowning deaths decreasing by 17% over the same period.

The report shows that there is an average of 474 people hospitalised for non-fatal drowning each year.

Young children aged 0-4 years accounted for 42% of non-fatal drowning incidents. Among children aged 0-4 years, for every fatal drowning, there were over 7 non-fatal drowning incidents.

“It’s alarming that the number of non-fatal drowning incidents in children under five is between 5 and 14 times higher than any other age group,” said Justin Scarr, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Life Saving Society – Australia and Convenor, Australian Water Safety Council.

Public Pools Snapshot

The report identifies that the total number of non-fatal drowning incidents in public swimming pools was 316 with an average of 26.3 per year.

This peaked in 2003/04, with 41 incidents recorded, before decreasing between 2006/07 and 2009/10. The number of recorded incidents then increased again to 35 in 2013/14.


Children aged 0-4 years account for almost half (44.6%) of all non-fatal drowning incidents in public swimming pools, with just over a fifth (22.5%) occurring in children aged 5-9 years (Figure 13).


For a copy of the full Report Please Click Here

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