Prevention of childhood drowning: A review of current community interventions and their effect on recreational drowning mortality in children

Date
2007-09-01
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Abstract

Accidents are the leading cause of mortality in American children today. Accidental death by drowning is the second-most common cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14 and the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4. (1) The most disturbing thing about this fact is that many of these deaths are preventable. The exposure of a child to the risk of drowning can be moderated both by controlling access to pools and beaches, as well as providing children with the skills to avoid a drowning accident.\r\n The consensus regarding various forms of risk reduction and other exposure limiting interventions is that they produce differing outcomes because they have differing efficacy even though they lead to the same end of reducing childhood drowning. These include laws that require secured pools and beaches; community programs that provide lifeguard surveillance, first responder training, and EMS services; and community education to ensure parents know the proper means for supervising children that are near water. Moreover, community programs can teach children swimming and drown-proofing techniques. Techniques such as clothing inflation, use of safety equipment, and the buddy system; methods that allow them to protect or “save” themselves when put into a potential drowning situation. \r\n This Capstone project consists of a systematic review of literature for community-based interventions that address childhood drowning. While these may work anywhere the focus of this review is on U.S. and Texas Gulf coast communities and on specific community programs developed to decrease drowning risk in children. Vital statistics, in addition to published data, were acquired to identify specific high risk groups based on sociodemographic factors, especially race or socioeconomic status. Finally, interventions were assessed and a determination made as to their appropriateness as an intervention for Galveston county and similar coastal counties in the U.S. and along the Gulf of Mexico.\r\n

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Keywords
intervention, drowning, community, children, accident
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