Drowning mortality and morbidity rates in children and adolescents 0-19yrs: a population-based study in Queensland, Australia

Wallis, Belinda A., Watt, Kerrianne, Franklin, Richard C., Nixon, James W., and Kimble, Roy M. (2015) Drowning mortality and morbidity rates in children and adolescents 0-19yrs: a population-based study in Queensland, Australia. PLoS ONE, 10 (2). e0117948. pp. 1-13.

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Objective: To redress the lack of Queensland population incidence mortality and morbidity data associated with drowning in those aged 0-19yrs, and to understand survival and patient care.

Design, Setting and Participants: Retrospective population-based study used data linkage to capture both fatal and non-fatal drowning cases (N = 1299) among children aged 0-19years in Queensland, from 2002-2008 inclusive. Patient data were accessed from pre-hospital, emergency department, hospital admission and death data, and linked manually to collate data across the continuum of care.

Main Outcome Measures: Incidence rates were calculated separately by age group and gender for events resulting in death, hospital admission, and non-admission. Trends over time were analysed.

Results: Drowning death to survival ratio was 1:10, and two out of three of those who survived were admitted to hospital. Incidence rates for fatal and non-fatal drowning increased over time, primarily due to an increase in non-fatal drowning. There were non-significant reductions in fatal and admission rates. Rates for non-fatal drowning that did not result in hospitalisation more than doubled over the seven years. Children aged 5-9yrs and 10-14yrs incurred the lowest incidence rates 6.38 and 4.62 (expressed as per 100,000), and the highest rates were among children aged 0-4yrs (all drowning events 43.90; fatal 4.04; non-fatal 39.85–comprising admission 26.69 and non-admission 13.16). Males were over-represented in all age groups except 10-14yrs. Total male drowning events increased 44% over the seven years (P<0.001).

Conclusion: This state-wide data collection has revealed previously unknown incidence and survival ratios. Increased trends in drowning survival rates may be viewed as both positive and challenging for drowning prevention and the health system. Males are over-represented, and although infants and toddlers did not have increased fatality rates, they had the greatest drowning burden demonstrating the need for continued drowning prevention efforts.

Item ID: 42148
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information:

© 2015 Wallis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Queensland Injury Prevention Council (QIPC)
Projects and Grants: QIPC Grant #00.01/01
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2016 02:19
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920409 Injury Control @ 100%
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