To examine the burden and risk factors for fatal and non-fatal drowning in India.
Relevant literature was identified through a systematic search of 19 electronic databases and 19 national and global, institutional, organisational and government sources of injury data. Search terms used pertained to drowning, injury, trauma, morbidity and mortality in India.
A total of 16 research articles and five data sources were included in the review. Three national data sources provided counts of drowning deaths, reporting a range of 1348–62 569 drowning deaths per year. A further three national data sources provided information on drowning-related morbidity; however, each source presented different outcome measures making comparison difficult. Ten research studies investigated risk factors associated with drowning in India. Key risk factors reported were male gender, young age (0–5 years) and individuals residing in the North-Eastern part of the country who have high exposure to water sources within community settings.
Drowning-related morbidity and mortality have a significant impact on India, with risk factors identified for this setting similar to those within other low-income and middle-income countries. Regional data which look beyond routinely collected data are required to accurately investigate the burden and impact of drowning, to inform targeted, context-specific approaches for drowning reduction initiatives