What is Drowning?

Despite drowning being a global public health issue, until recently there was not a globally recognized definition of drowning. In 2005, experts in clinical medicine, injury epidemiology, prevention and rescue from all over the world participated in an exercise to determine the universal definition of drowning. After much debate, the consensus was that the new definition should include both cases of fatal and nonfatal drowning. The following definition was determined:

"Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid."

They also determined that drowning outcomes should be classified as: death, morbidity, and no morbidity. There was also consensus that the terms wet, dry, active, passive, silent, and secondary drowning should no longer be used.

Starfish Aquatics, along with Safer 3 BOD member Dr. Justin Sempsrott, wrote a position statement to clarify the definition of drowning and misconceptions associated with drowning incidents. Safer 3 Water Safety Foundaiton agrees with the statement and invites you to read and share the position.