Causes of distraction leading to supervision lapses in cases of fatal drowning of children 0-4 years in Australia: a 15-year review

Peden, Amy E., and Franklin, Richard C. (2020) Causes of distraction leading to supervision lapses in cases of fatal drowning of children 0-4 years in Australia: a 15-year review. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. (In Press)

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View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.14668
 
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Abstract

Aim: Supervision is a strategy for preventing drowning among children. However, supervision lapses continue to be a contributory factor in child drowning. This study aims to identify, describe and analyse the causes of distraction leading to lapses in supervision in child drowning.

Methods A total population survey of all fatal unintentional drownings among children aged 0-4 years between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2017 was undertaken using data from the Australian National Coronial Information System. Among closed coronial cases, causes of distraction leading to lapses in supervision were collected as free text from closed case documentation and subsequently thematically grouped into categories. Univariate and chi(2) analysis was undertaken (P < 0.01).

Results: A total of 447 children drowned during the study period (62.0% male; 66.9% aged 1-2 years; 53.3% swimming pools; 79.4% falls into water). Of the 426 (95.3%) closed cases, common supervision lapses were due to indoor household duties (27.6%), outdoor household duties (12.6%) and talking/socialising (11.9%).

Conclusions This study has identified common scenarios for distractions leading to supervision lapses including the link between indoor household duties and bathtub drowning deaths and talking/socialising for deaths in swimming pools and at rivers. Challenges include medical issues impacting sole carers. The 7% of cases where a supervision lapse occurred due to miscommunication are opportunities to further reinforce the need for a designated supervisor, particularly with two or more adults present. Study findings on distraction causes, and strategies to minimise them, should be incorporated into national public awareness campaigns aimed at parents and care givers of this at-risk group.

Item ID: 61006
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1034-4810
Keywords: child, drowning, prevention, supervision, technology
Funders: Royal Life Saving Society
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2019 07:38
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920409 Injury Control @ 100%
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