Drowning in injury prevention

Living in the Sunshine State, water safety has always been important to our family. I remember learning how to rescue someone, and how to swim safely out of an ocean rip, as a young child. I grew up in a farming community, and my brothers and I always knew if we went near the dam we would be in for it. I have also seen how resuscitation after drowning may not always the best option.

Given it is school holidays, and given how popular our state is at this time of year, unfortunately we have seen some near misses – thank goodness they reached these struggling swimmers in time. The difference between drowning and surviving can be just seconds.

Children are particularly vulnerable – during the last couple of weeks, a 15-month old drowned in the family pool; a four-year old boy drowned in the neighbour’s pool; a two-year-old boy drowned in the family dam…. figures showed five drownings in pools, seven in dams and two in waterways among children under eight since July 2014.

As an injury prevention researcher I firmly believe in preventing drownings and near-miss drownings is the best course of action we can take, and any research findings which help us take a holistic approach to preventing drownings spark my interest. In November 2014, the World Health Organization released its first Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer. with the World Conference on Drowning Prevention to be held in Malaysia in November. The April edition of Injury Prevention features a paper by Karimi, Beiki, and Mohammadi, highlighting the increased drowning risk for boys with a foreign background; an article by Tian, Shaw, Zack, Kobau, Dyckstra, and Covington in the the March edition of Epilepsy & Behavior highlighting the increased risk of death due to drowning for children and young adults with epilepsy; and the February edition of PLoS One featuring an article by Wallis, Watt, Franklin, Nixon, and Kimble highlighting the considerable burden of drowning and near-drowning among children aged 0-19 years in Queensland.

Clearly we have much progress to make, and publishing research findings such as these are vital to prevent water-related deaths in persons of all ages.

 

 

 

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