This study aimed to describe the epidemiology and risk factors contributing to drowning among migrants in Australia.
Methods: A total population retrospective epidemiological study of unintentional drowning deaths in Australia between 1 July 2009 and 30 June 2019 of people born outside Australia (migrants). Cases were extracted from the National Coronial Information System. Descriptive statistics, chi-square and relative risk were calculated. Crude drowning rates were based on country of birth and population in Australia.
Results: There were 572 migrant deaths over the study period, 28.9% of total drowning deaths, 82.9% were male. Twenty-one per cent were aged 25-34 years and 40.8% had lived in Australia for 20+ years. Migrants at highest risk of drowning were from: South Korea (2.63/100,000 95%CI: 0.85-8.25), Taiwan (2.29/100,000 95%CI: 0.27-13.44), and Nepal (2.15/100,000 95%CI: 0.23-11.55). Migrants were more likely to drown when around rocks (p<0.001) compared with Australian-born people, who most frequently drowned in rivers (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Migrants are not over-represented in drowning statistics. However, unique trends were found for drowning among migrants based on country of birth and length of time in Australia. Implications for public health: Holistic drowning prevention strategies and policies are required to effectively lower drowning risk among migrant communities.