early colonial history, so many settlers died while trying to cross rivers that drowning was known as "The New Zealand death". Home and Recreational Safety. 43 Most autopsy findings relate to asphyxia and are not specific to drowning. Drownings in natural water settings increase with age. Worldwide, about 175,000 children die through drowning every year. 68 In response, major medical consensus organizations have adopted this definition worldwide and have officially discouraged any medical or publication use of the term "dry drowning". 51 Children edit Drowning is a major worldwide cause of death and injury in children.