Drowning is the leading cause of death in China for children aged 5 to 14, claiming 12,000 lives of that age group each year, according to a latest report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The UN health body has launched the Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer, the first-ever WHO report dedicated exclusively to drowning.
Almost twice as many children aged 5 to 14 die in China from drowning than traffic accidents, it said.
Among youths aged 15 to 29, drowning is the fourth leading cause to death. It's also one of the main causes of non-natural deaths for babies aged 0 to 4 years in China.
However, "despite the scale of the problem, and the face that drowning is a highly preventable public health challenge, it has never been targeted by a global strategic prevention effort," warned the report.
Worldwide, drowning claims the lives of 372,00 people a year, almost two thirds of the total deaths of malnutrition and well over half that of malaria.
Notably, 203,603 of the deaths were in the Asia Pacific region. More than 90 per cent of drowning deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.