A scoping review of female drowning: an underexplored issue in five high-income countries

Roberts, Kym, Thom, Ogilvie, Devine, Susan, Leggat, Peter A., Peden, Amy E., and Franklin, Richard C. (2021) A scoping review of female drowning: an underexplored issue in five high-income countries. BMC Public Health, 21. 1072.

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Background: Drowning is a significant public health issue, with females accounting for one third of global drowning deaths. The rate of female drowning has not decreased within high-income countries and presentations to hospital have increased. This scoping review aimed to explore adult female unintentional drowning, including risk factors, clinical treatment and outcomes of females hospitalised for drowning.

Methods: A systematic search of the literature following the PRISMA-ScR framework was undertaken. The databases OVID MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, OVID Emcare, Web of Science, Informit and Scopus were accessed. Study locations of focus were Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Studies from January 2003 to April 2019 were included. The quality of evidence of included studies was assessed using GRADE guidelines.

Results: The final search results included 14 studies from Australia (n = 4), Canada (n = 1), New Zealand (n = 1), United States (n = 6), United Kingdom (n = 1), and one study reporting data from both Australia and United States. Nine studies reported risk factors for female drowning including age, with the proportion of female drowning incidence increasing with age. Although females are now engaging in risk-taking behaviours associated with drowning that are similar to males, such as consuming alcohol and swimming in unsafe locations, their exposure to risky situations and ways they assess risk, differ. Females are more likely to drown from accidental entry into water, such as in a vehicle during a flood or fall into water. This review found no evidence on the clinical treatment provided to females in hospital after a drowning incident, and only a small number of studies reported the clinical outcomes of females, with inconsistent results (some studies reported better and some no difference in clinical outcomes among females).

Conclusion: Adult females are a group vulnerable to drowning, that have lacked attention. There was no single study found which focused solely on female drowning. There is a need for further research to explore female risk factors, the clinical treatment and outcomes of females hospitalised for drowning. This will not only save the lives of females, but also contribute to an overall reduction in drowning.

Item ID: 68741
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2458
Copyright Information: © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commonslicence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2021 02:48
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 33%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420602 Health equity @ 33%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420604 Injury prevention @ 34%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200599 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) not elsewhere classified @ 33%
20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200408 Injury prevention and control @ 34%
20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200204 Health inequalities @ 33%
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