Summer 2023 drowning statistics: drowning less frequent but more often fatal

by Virgile Cachon on November 24, 2023

The overall picture is one of a fall in rescue operations in 2023, but a rise in mortality.

Buoy floating alone in the middle of a pool

Indeed, while the figures suggest an improvement, the problem is actually getting worse. 

500 children drown every summer

In France, accidental drowning is responsible for around 1,000 deaths every year, half of which occur during the summer months. 500 children are victims, 10% of whom die. Children under 6 account for a quarter of all accidental drownings. Most of these accidents occur in private family pools.

As of June 2023, 84 drownings resulting in death were reported. A stable number compared to previous years but more often fatal.

These serious results show the need to relentlessly pursue prevention measures against the risk of drowning in private bathing establishments.

Every year, the first summer drowning update is published on the last day of school, so that as many information and prevention tips as possible can be disseminated as families head off on their vacations.

Most accidental drownings can be avoided with a few simple preventive measures and/or the right equipment.


Most drownings preventable 

The authorities explain that these dramatic accidents can happen to anyone, and that most of them are avoidable. This is why we must insist on the importance of constant, close supervision of children when swimming. 

Simple gestures to adopt: 

  • Familiarize children withaquatic fluency as early as possible and learn to swim as soon as possible
  • Keep an eye on children at all times, always stay close to them when they are playing at near water, and swim with them when they are in the water.
  • Be very careful when swimming in above-ground pools (not in-ground) which cannot be secured.
  • Have children wear a safety device such as the floating swimsuit Plouf.


    " It only takes a few seconds for a child to drown. No safety device can replace your vigilance. You care about them, so don't let them out of your sight", concludes the government.


    Life-saving gestures

    There are a number of steps you can take to ensure the safety of victims in the event of drowning.

    • Remove the victim from the water to help him regain consciousness.
    • Don't put yourself in danger so as not to aggravate the situation
    • Call emergency services: fire department (18), ambulance (15) or European emergency number (112).
    • Practice first aid if you know it : lay the victim down in the lateral position of safety (L.S.P.) and talk to him/her. Check breathing and consciousness. If they don't seem to be breathing properly or are unresponsive, perform cardiac massage or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

    Get trained, lives are at stake.


    To avoid the worst

    At the end of July, a six-year-old child was found unconscious in a campsite swimming pool in the late afternoon. The campsite's team of lifeguards quickly performed first aid before the fire department arrived. In a serious condition, he was flown by helicopter to Perpignan hospital. He died shortly after arrival. Four lifeguards were on duty at all times to monitor the area, but their vigilance was not enough.

    In Lacanau, a mother died whiletrying to save her child from drowning during a family swim at the seaside. The rescue team succeeded in recovering and saving the child, but the mother did not survive. Here again, the presence of several people was not enough to avoid tragedy.

    Equipping children helps prevent these serious and fatal accidents. When it comes to preventing children from drowning, no precaution is dispensable - they're all compulsory.


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