Media, risk, and prevention: lessons for aquatic safety from newsworthy deaths: precipice for prevention or just good tales?

Franklin, Richard Charles, King, Jemma C., Watt, Kerrianne, Aitken, Peter J., and Leggat, Peter A. (2014) Media, risk, and prevention: lessons for aquatic safety from newsworthy deaths: precipice for prevention or just good tales? International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 8 (2). pp. 182-194.

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Abstract

Drowning is a leading cause of death worldwide. To examine the characteristics of newsworthy aquatic fatalities, we examined aquatic-related fatalities listed as Darwin Award Nominees (2003–2012). The primary objective of our examinations was to review the circumstances surrounding the fatalities. We found twelve fatalities. The majority occurred in the USA (n = 8) to persons who were engaged in a recreational activity (n = 9) with one or more observers present (n = 8). Alcohol was believed to be involved in four cases as was flood water in four others (n = 4). We identified multiple possible prevention strategies that were available for all cases. While media is an important conduit for prevention messages, it often focuses on the unusual and lacks any discussion about prevention. While many of the Darwin Awards fatalities were considered unusual, we would argue that many actually were common scenarios such as drowning in flood water, having consumed alcohol then participating in aquatic activity, as well as engaging in other risk-taking behaviors in an aquatic setting.

Item ID: 33042
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-9253
Keywords: fatal drowning, water safety, drowning prevention, media
Date Deposited: 30 May 2014 06:14
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111716 Preventive Medicine @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920409 Injury Control @ 100%
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