Epidemiology of fatal and non-fatal drowning patients attended by paramedics in Victoria, Australia

Bernadette L. Matthews, Emily Andrew, Robert Andronaco, Shelley Cox, Karen Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Drowning is a major cause of injury and death worldwide. This study aims to expand the evidence in fatal and non-fatal drowning. A retrospective study was conducted to investigate fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents attended by ambulance paramedics in Victoria (Australia) from 2007 to 2012. A total of 509 drowning incidents were identified, 339 (66.6%) were non-fatal, with 170 (33.4%) resulting in death. Children aged 0–4 years had the highest crude drowning rate (7.95 per 100,000 persons). Non-fatal incidents were more likely to be witnessed by a bystander when compared with fatal incidents (43.7% vs. 20.0%, p < 0.001). Spatial analysis indicated that 35 (43.8%) local government areas (LGAs) were considered at ‘excess risk’ of a drowning event occurring. This study is the first to apply spatial analysis to determine relative risk ratios for fatal and non-fatal drowning. These findings will enable geographically targeted and age-specific drowning prevention activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion.
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2017


  • Drowning prevention
  • health policy
  • management
  • unintentional injury

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