Toddler drowning prevention: teaching parents about water safety in conjunction with their child's in-water lessons

Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2006 Dec;13(4):254-6. doi: 10.1080/17457300600678201.


The primary objective of the study was to develop a parent education programme that addressed parental misconceptions of toddler water safety previously identified by the authors. Parents (n = 106) of 2-4-year-old toddlers enrolled in swim school lessons completed a self-directed questionnaire before and after a 10-week poolside water safety programme. Differences in pre- and post-programme knowledge and beliefs were measured by frequency and chi-square tested to identify significant changes in parental comprehension of toddler water safety after the programme. Statistically significant improvements in parental understanding were evident after the programme. More parents were aware of the family or friend's swimming pool as the primary site of toddler drowning (59% vs. 78%). More parents agreed that their toddler required more, not less, adult supervision after swimming lessons (85% vs. 97%) and more disagreed that swimming lessons were the best way to prevent toddler drowning (65% vs. 74%). Parental understanding of child cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), however, did not improve after the programme. This study suggests that toddler lessons in swim schools provide a valuable opportunity to address parental misconceptions about toddler water safety. Further research is required to determine how parents whose toddlers do not attend swimming lessons might similarly benefit from such a programme.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / methods
  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control
  • Adult
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / education
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drowning / prevention & control*
  • Education / methods*
  • First Aid
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • New Zealand
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents*
  • Safety*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Swimming / education*
  • Swimming Pools*