What causes drowning in young adults?

Updated: Jun 19, 2019
  • Author: G Patricia Cantwell, MD, FCCM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Young adults typically drown in ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Approximately 90% of drownings occur within 10 yards of safety. Cervical spine injuries and head trauma, which result from diving into water that may be shallow or contain rocks and other hazards, have been implicated. [16]

Alcohol and, to a lesser extent, other recreational drugs are implicated in many cases. Australian, Scottish, and Canadian data showed that 30-50% of older adolescents and adults who drowned in boating incidents were inebriated, as determined by blood alcohol concentrations.

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