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Sharp increase in drownings for 2018

As the end of the summer approaches, a recent report from Santé Publique France (SPF), France’s Public Health association, shows a considerable increase in the number of drownings for 2018, compared to 2015. Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is the second region in France for the number of drownings this year.

The report, which includes all cases of drowning between 1st June and 9th August of 2018 announced  1,758 drownings, which is slightly more than double of 2015 (858). The study takes into consideration all the drownings that involved hospital care, whether they were an accidental, and whether they were deadly, as the French differentiate fatal and non-fatal drownings.
With a total of 15% of the drownings (136, among which 24 were deadly), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur took second, following Occitanie with 18% (158 cases, among which 23 deaths).

The institution in charge of the report explains that there are two main reasons to explain this rather high increase of numbers: a hotter summer than usual, and a better system of drownings detection put in place. Indeed, with the month of June 2018 being one of the hottest since 1900 in France, people tended to swim more, therefore multiplying the risk of drowning.

SPF also emphasised the importance of certain reflexes to adopt in order to avoid drownings, including advice for kids and parents, for adults and for older people. It is advised for everyone not to rush into cold water after a long time in the sun; not to drink alcohol before or during a swim; and to always have an adult supervising kids while swimming. The report also highlighted the number of deaths among the people over 65, who are most likely to drown in private swimming pools.

Leïla Zemirli