Infant and toddler drowning in Australia: patterns, risk factors and prevention recommendations

Fellon Gaida, Jamie GAIDA

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Drowning is a leading cause of death among infants and toddlers. Unique physiological and behavioural factors contribute to high mortality rates. Drowning incidents predominantly occur during warmer months and holidays. Recent studies link high socio-economic status and drowning, in contrast to earlier studies. Cardiac arrhythmias, epilepsy and autism are strong risk factors for drowning incidents. Prevention strategies have substantially lowered drowning rates. While legislation-compliant pool fencing substantially reduces drowning risk, compliance levels are low, and penalties are minor. Active supervision education for parents and carers is an effective drowning prevention strategy. Bystanders provide basic life support in only 30% of cases; strategies to increase training uptake are needed. Fencing costs should be a mandatory inclusion for pool installations, with high penalties for non-compliance. Basic life support training should be compulsory for pool owners, and tax incentives should be used as a lever to increase training uptake
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)923-927
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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