An analysis of stratagems to reduce drowning deaths of young children in private swimming pools and spas in Victoria, Australia

Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2013;20(3):282-94. doi: 10.1080/17457300.2012.717086. Epub 2012 Sep 6.


This population-based retrospective case series study examined the frequency and distribution of protective stratagems (legislatively compliant safety barrier, adequate caregiver supervision, water familiarisation and early administration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR]) amongst drowning deaths of young children (0-4 years) in private swimming pools or spas in Victoria, Australia. In 65.0% (52/80) of deaths, none of the four protective stratagems were known to be present and there was only one case where all four were known to be present. This indicates that if the presence of all four stratagems is increased, this may reduce drowning in this age group and setting. While these results are positive, further examination of the presence and interaction of these stratagems for effectiveness is required. Further research is also warranted to explore the impact of enforcement of pool fencing legislation and potential associations between water familiarisation and drowning risk. In addition, a consensus on the definition of adequate supervision in needed.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / methods*
  • Attention
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Caregivers
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drowning / epidemiology
  • Drowning / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Swimming / education
  • Swimming Pools* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Victoria / epidemiology