Where children and adolescents drown in Queensland: a population-based study

Wallis, Belinda A., Watt, Kerrianne, Franklin, Richard C., Nixon, James W., and Kimble, Roy M. (2015) Where children and adolescents drown in Queensland: a population-based study. BMJ Open, 5 (11). e008959. pp. 1-12.

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Objective: This retrospective population-based study examined drowning location by the site of immersion for both fatal and non-fatal drowning events in Queensland. Drowning location is not routinely collected, and this study used data linkage to identify drowning sites. The resulting enhanced quality data quantify drowning incidence for specific locations by geographic region, age group and by severity for the first time.

Design: Linked data were accessed from the continuum of care (prehospital, emergency, hospital admission and death data) on fatal and non-fatal drowning episodes in children aged 0-19 years in Queensland for the years 2002-2008 inclusive.

Results: Drowning locations ranked in order of overall incidence were pools, inland water, coastal water, baths and other man-made water hazards. Swimming pools produced the highest incidence rates (7.31/100 000) for overall drowning events and were more often privately owned pools and in affluent neighbourhoods. Toddlers 0-4 years were most at risk around pools (23.94/100 000), and static water bodies such as dams and buckets-the fatality ratios were highest at these 2 locations for this age group. Children 5-14 years incurred the lowest incidence rates regardless of drowning location. Adolescents 15-19 years were more frequently involved in a drowning incident on the coast shoreline, followed by inland dynamic water bodies.

Conclusions: Linked data have resulted in the most comprehensive data collection on drowning location and severity to date for children in the state of Queensland. Most mortality and morbidity could have been prevented by improving water safety through engaged supervision around pools and bath time, and a heightened awareness of buckets and man-made water hazards around the farm home for young children. These data provide a different approach to inform prevention strategies.

Item ID: 42189
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2044-6055
Additional Information:

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non- commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Funders: Queensland Injury Prevention Council (QIPC)
Projects and Grants: QIPC 00.01/01
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2016 02:31
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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