Swimming lessons could help save the lives of children with autism, a study finds.

Research published in the American Journal of Public Health studied epidemiology data looking at 1,367 children diagnosed with autism who died between 1999 and 2014.

The researchers found that children with autism were 160 times more likely to die from drowning compared with children without autism.

The authors said: “Given the exceptionally heightened risk of drowning for children with autism, swimming classes should be the intervention of top priority."