What Are The Major Causes Of Drowning?

What Are The Major Causes Of Drowning?

One of the most common but rational fears people have, is that of drowning. There is something so devastatingly grim in the idea of drowning. This could be something genetic. We may have evolved to fear drowning as a defense mechanism of sorts passed down from our ancestors. So this leads to the main question, what are the major causes of drowning?


The potential for it being genetics isn’t why we call the fear of drowning rational. We say the fear of drowning is rationale because the data backs it up. The CDC estimates that there are about 10 cases of drowning everyday in the US.



Drowning Victim



Setting the number of annual drowning fatalities in the US at just over 3,500. On an international level The World Health Organization states that there are about 320,000 drowning incidents annually. 


But what are the causes of drowning? As you could probably already guess, there are many different causes of drowning. To count them all would be impossible. What we can do is talk about some of the most common causes of drowning. 



No Swimming In Lake Sign



Major Causes of Drowning:


  1. Inability to Swim: Both the CDC and WHO, agree that lack of adequate swimming technique is the number one major cause of drowning. A lot of people don’t know how to swim, and a lot of people highly overestimate their abilities in swimming. This then leads to inability to swim becoming the number one leading cause of drowning. 


How to avoid it? The Wilderness Medical Society while issuing their official Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment of Drowning, mention that most drowning fatalities could be avoided or prevented. Their recommendation and The CDC’s is learning how to swim properly. You can start your swimming lessons today. 


  1. Lack of Barriers and Close Supervision: In most cases causes of drowning are related to mistakes people make. One thing that causes a lot of mistakes is lack of barriers. This is especially true while swimming outdoors and in the open. Lack of barriers between deep and shallow swimming areas is a huge cause of drowning. At the same time, most affected by drowning are young children. Lack of close supervision by an adult is a key ingredient in understanding the major causes of drowning, when it comes to child drowning. 

How to avoid these two? This is a very self explanatory solution. Implementing clear and visible barriers on the swimming areas is key. At the same time adult supervision is a must when it comes to children. On top of that, it is also very highly recommended that even adults avoid swimming alone and without anyone around. 


  1. General human carelessness: The CDC lists failure to wear Life Jackets and alcohol use as two major causes of drowning. At first sight these might seem a bit different. At the end though, it all boils down to carelessness. Swimming after consuming alcohol is never a good idea. As many of you already know alcohol causes loss of coordination, balance and judgement. It would be just as careless not to wear potentially life-saving equipment, when the situation requires it. 



Woman Underwater



How to avoid it? Be mindful of what you are doing and follow the safety rules and protocols. Never, ever, under no circumstance go swimming after drinking. Wear a Life Jacket.


There are also some other major causes of drowning that the CDC mentions but we didn’t cover today. The CDC also mentions seizure related accidents; “For persons with seizure disorders, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death, with the bathtub as the site of highest drowning risk.  


Swimming is very fun. If you are a swimming enthusiast just like us, you know what we mean. This post is meant to be used as a cautionary tale. We aim to help avoid some of the major causes of drowning, thus making swimming even more fun and enjoyable.