Improving pool fencing legislation in Queensland, Australia: attitudes and impact on child drowning fatalities

Franklin, Richard C., and Peden, Amy E. (2017) Improving pool fencing legislation in Queensland, Australia: attitudes and impact on child drowning fatalities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 (12).

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Four-sided, non-climbable pool fencing is an effective strategy for preventing children from drowning in home swimming pools. In 2009, the Queensland Government introduced legislation to improve the effectiveness of pool fencing. This study explores community attitudes towards the effectiveness of these legislative changes and examines child (<5 years) drowning deaths in pools. Data from the 2011 Queensland Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) Social Survey include results from questions related to pool ownership and pool fencing legislation. Fatal child drowning cases between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2015 were sourced from coronial data. Of the 1263 respondents, 26/100 households had a pool. A total of 58% believed tightening legislation would be effective in reducing child drowning deaths. Pool owners were more likely to doubt the effectiveness of legislation (p < 0.001) when compared to non-pool owners. Perceptions of effectiveness did not differ by presence of children under the age of five. There were 46 children who drowned in Queensland home pools (7.8/100,000 pools with children residing in the residence/annum) between 2005 and 2015. While pool owners were less likely to think that tightening the legislation would be effective, the number of children drowning in home swimming pools declined over the study period. Drowning prevention agencies have more work to do to ensure that the most vulnerable (young children in houses with swimming pools) are protected.

Item ID: 52623
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1660-4601
Keywords: drowning prevention, child drowning, injury prevention, engineering, pool fencing, epidemiology, hierarchy of controls, social ecological model, health promotion
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© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

Funders: Royal Lifesaving Society, Australia
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2018 07:33
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420299 Epidemiology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920409 Injury Control @ 100%
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