PW 2470 Effectiveness of childhood drowning prevention interventions: evidence review

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Abstract

Globally, drowning is a major cause of injury-related deaths among under-five children. Nearly, 90% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. However, there is limited evidence on effectiveness of childhood drowning prevention interventions from LMICs. Some of the interventions for child drowning prevention have been tested. These include barriers (fencing, door barriers, playpen), crèches, swimming lessons, rescue and resuscitation and personal flotation device.

While removing or covering water hazard and isolation fencing around pools have been found to be effective in preventing childhood drowning, there is insufficient evidence for effectiveness of playpens and door barriers. Crèches/day care centers provide supervision of children especially when caregivers are busy. These have been found to be effective for childhood drowning. Swimming may reduce the risk of drowning among children. However, there is insufficient evidence whether this can be effective for very young children.

In event of drowning, safe rescue and immediate resuscitation can save life. However, personal flotation device although effective may not be practical in a LMIC setting where most drowning occurs closer to home and in natural bodies of water.

To generate evidence on large scale effectiveness of playpens and crèches, the the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit in collaboration with the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh and International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh with the support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, implemented the ‘Saving of Lives from Drowning’ (2012 – 2015) study in seven rural sub-districts of Bangladesh. Nearly, 1.2 million people were covered in the SoLiD baseline injury survey and surveillance, and about 70 000 children received SoLiD interventions.

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